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At Home 

In theSmokies 

At Home 

In the Smokies 

A History Handbook for 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

North Carolina and Tennessee 

Produced by the 
Division of Publications 
National Park Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 
Washington, D.C. 1984 

Using This Handbook 

This theme handbook, pubHshed in this new edition 
on the 50th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park, tells the story of the people who set- 
tled and lived in the mountains along the Tennessee 
and North Carolina border. Part 1 gives a brief intro- 
duction to the park and its historical sites. In Part 2, 
Wilma Dykeman and Jim Stokely present the history 
of the region from the early Cherokee days to the 
establishment of the park in 1934 and the renewed 
interest in the past in the 1970s; this text was first 
published by the National Park Service in 1978. Part 3 
gives a brief description of the major historical build- 
ings you can see in the park. For general information 
about the park and its wildlife, see Handbook 112. 

National Park Handbooks, compact introductions to 
the great natural and historic places administered 
by the National Park Service, are published to support 
the National Park Service's management programs 
at the parks and to promote understanding and en- 
joyment of the parks. This is Handbook 125. 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 
Main entry under title: At home in the Smokies. 
(National park handbook; 125) 
Rev. ed. of: Highland homeland/Wilma Dykeman 
and Jim Stokely. 1978. Includes index. 
Supt. of Docs, no.: I 29.9/5:125 
1. Great Smoky Mountains (N.C. and Tenn.) — Social 
life and customs. 2. Great Smoky Mountains (N.C. 
and Tenn.) — History. 3. Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park (N.C. and Tenn.) — Guide-books. 4. 
Cherokee Indians— History. 

I. Dykeman, Wilma. Highland homeland. II. United 
States. National Park Service. Division of Publica- 
tions. III. Series: Handbook (United States. National 
Park Service. Division of Publications); 125. 
F443.G7A8 1984 976.8'89 84-600108 

ISBN 0-912627-22-0 

Part 2 


Recapturing the Past 4 

Smoky Mountain Heritage 

Highland Homeland 1 2 

By Wilma Dykeman and Jim Stokely 

Homecoming 17 

Rail Fences 30 
Land of the Cherokees 35 
The Pioneers Arrive 49 

Rifle Making 60 
A Band of Cherokees Holds On 63 
From Pioneer to Mountaineer 73 

Spinning and Weaving 94 
The Sawmills Move In 97 
Birth of a Park 107 
The Past Becomes Present 121 

Handicrafts 132 
Coming Home 137 

Guide and Adviser 1 46 

Traveling in the Smokies 148 

Oconaluftee 150 

Cades Cove 152 

Other Historic Sites in the Park 154 

Related Nearby Sites 156 

Armchair Explorations 157 

Index 158 






Aden Carver of Oconaluftee 
was a carpenter, stone 
lason, millwright, deacon, 
und preacher. He was more 
.,^^.^lllg fj^afi some men b"^ 
rt^uresentative of many whu 

Smoky Mountain Heritage 

Seemingly endless ridges, forests, mountain streams, 
waterfalls, and wildlife attract hundreds of thousands 
of travelers each year to Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park on the Tennessee -North Carolina 
border. Many are drawn by a long procession of 
wildflowers and shrubs bursting into bloom in the 
spring and by the colorful foliage of the hardwoods 
in the fall. Thousands hike the park's many trails, 
which range from short spurs to the 110 kilometers 
(70 miles) of the Appalachian Trail that runs through 
the park. Also attracting wide interest are the park's 
historical sites and the lifeways of the mountain 
people. They are pleasant surprises in the midst of 
all of nature's richness. They are physical ties with 
our ancestors, many of whom traveled from their 
homelands across the sea to build new homes in the 
relatively unexplored continent of North America. 

The National Park Service has preserved some of 
the historic structures in Great Smoky Mountains 
National Park so that we, and future generations, 
can better understand how our forefathers lived. By 
walking through and closely examining their finely 
crafted — and crudely crafted — log houses, barns, 
and other farm buildings we gain a new respect for 
their diligence and perseverance. The hours spent 
hewing massive beams, preserving foods for winter 
use, and making clothes from scratch are nearly 
incomprehensible in our age of machines and 
computers. The mountainous terrain demanded hard 
work, and the isolation fostered a zealous indepen- 
dence. The land truly molded a resourcefulness and 
hardiness in the Smokies character. 

The story of these mountain people and communi- 
ties is told in Part 2 of this handbook by Wilma 
Dykeman and Jim Stokely, who can look out on the 
expanse of the Great Smokies from their family 
home in Newport, Tennessee. Their engaging story 
of the Smokies is illustrated with historic photographs 
that largely come from the park's files. Although the 
identities of many of the photographers are unknown 
(see page 160), we are no less indebted to them. 
They have helped to preserve the history and 
folkways of the Great Smokies people, who played a 
part in molding and defining our national character. 









W !^. ^ 

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In the old days, housekeep- 
ing in the Smokies allowed 
few if any frills. Aunt Rhodie 
Abbott, and most other 
women, worked as hard as 
any man as they went about 
their daily chores keeping 
their families fed and clothed. 



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rli^h|and l-|Dmeland 

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IHg Greenbrier 

f imiiies \ 

Whaley, Ownby, 
Proftitt, Boi.anan, 
Huskey, McCarter, 
Parlon, Gr<?en, Pnr.e, 

Forney Creek 

Cole. Monteith, 
Crisp. Welch 


Mingus. Enloe 
Hughes Conner 
Collins. Beck 

r»«,lhlll« Parkway ^1^ 

(closed in winter)/~y 



Caldwell, Woody 
Bennett. Messer, 
iPalmer. Hannah 
.1 Jarvis Palmer Home 

2 Palmer Chapel , 

3 Beech Grove School 
1/77 Caldwell Home 
/e Woody Home 

Historic building site 











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If is summer now, a time for coming home. And on 
an August Sunday in the mountain-green valley they 
call Catalocchee, the kinfolk arrive. They come from 
50 states to gather here, at a one-room white frame 
Methodist church by the banks of the Big "Cata- 
looch." The appearance of their shiny cars and bulky 
campers rolling along the paved Park Service road 
suggests that they are tourists, too, a tiny part of the 
millions who visit and enjoy the Great Smoky Moun- 
tains each year. Yet these particular families repre- 
sent something more. A few of them were raised 
here; their ancestors lived and died here. 

They are celebrating their annual Cataloochee 
homecoming. Other reunions, held on Sundays 
throughout the summer, bring together onetime resi- 
dents of almost every area in the park. Some of the 
places instantly recall bits of history: Greenbrier, 
once a heavily populated cove and political nerve- 
center; Elkmont, where a blacksmith named Huskey 
set out one winter to cross the Smokies and was 
discovered dead in a bear trap the next spring; and 
Smokemont on the beautiful Oconaluftee River, at 
one time the home of the Middle Cherokee and the 
very heart of that Indian Nation. 

These are special days, but they observe a univer- 
sal experience as old as Homer's Ulysses, as new as 
the astronauts' return from the moon: homecoming. 
It is an experience particularly signifcant in the Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, at different 
times and in different ways, people of various races 
and heritage have reluctantly given up hearth and 
farm so that today new generations can come to this 
green kingdom of some 209,000 hectares (517,000 
acres) and rediscover a natural homeland which is 
the heritage of all. 

Beginning on Canada's Gaspe Peninsula as a lime- 
stone finger only 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) wide, the 
Appalachian mountain system that dominates east- 
ern America slants about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 
miles) southwest across New England and the Atlan- 
tic and border states into northern Georgia and 
Alabama, culminating in the grandeur and complex- 
ity of the Great Smoky Mountains. This range, which 
marks the dividing line between Tennessee and North 
Carolina, is high; its 58-kilometer (36-mile) crest re- 
mains more than 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea 
level. It is ancient — the Ocoee rocks here are esti- 

A home in the Smokies usu- 
ally meant a simple log house 
nestled in the hills among the 
trees and amidst the haze. 

Mational Park Service 


mated to be 500-600 million years old— and its tall 
peaks and plunging valleys have been sculpted by 
nature through the action of ice and water during 
long, patient centuries. The odd and fantastic courses 
of the rivers here indicate that they are older than 
the mountains. The Great Smokies are a land of 
moving waters; there is no natural lake or pond in 
this area, but there are some 1,000 kilometers (620 
miles) of streams with more than 70 species of fish. A 
generous rainfall, averaging as much as 229 centi- 
meters (90 inches) per year in some localities and 
211 centimeters (83 inches) atop Clingmans Dome, 
nourishes a rich variety of plantlife: more than 100 
species of trees, 1,200 other flowering plants, 50 
types of fern, 500 mosses and lichens, and 2,000 
fungi. The mixed hardwood forest and virgin stands 
of balsam and spruce are the special glories of the 

Many of the species of birds that make the 
Smokies their home do not have to leave to migrate; 
by migrating vertically, from the valleys to the moun- 
taintops in summer and back down in winter, they 
can experience the equivalent of a journey at sea 
level from Georgia to New England. Animals large 
and small find this a congenial home, and two, the 
wild boar and the black bear, are especially interest- 
ing to visitors. The former shuns people, but the 
latter is occasionally seen along trails and roadsides 
throughout the Smokies. 

When the Great Smoky Mountains were added to 
the National Park System in 1934, a unique mission 
was accomplished: more than 6,600 separate tracts 
of land had been purchased by the citizens of 
Tennessee and North Carolina and given to the peo- 
ple of the United States. Previously, most national 
parks had been created from lands held by the Fed- 
eral Government. The story of the Great Smokies is, 
therefore, most especially and significantly, a story 
of people and their home. Part of that story is cap- 
tured in microcosm on an August Sunday in a se- 
cluded northeastern corner of the park: Cataloochee. 

History is what the homecoming is about. The 
people of Cataloochee worship and sing and eat and 
celebrate because they are back. And being back, 
they remember. They walk up the narrow creeks, 
banked by thick tangles of rhododendron and dog- 
hobble, to the sites of old homesteads. They watch 


their small children and grandchildren wade the wa- 
ter and trample the grass of once-familiar fields. 
They call themselves Caldwell, Palmer, Hannah, 
Woody, Bennett, Messer. For exactly a century — 
from the late 1830s and the coming of the first perma- 
nent white settlers to the later 1930s and the coming 
of the park — men and women with these names lived 
along Cataloochee Creek. But these pioneers were 
not the first to inhabit a valley that they called by an 
Indian name. 

By "Gad-a-lu-tsi,'' the Cherokees meant "standing 
up in ranks." As they looked from Cove Creek Gap 
at the eastern end of the valley across toward the 
Balsam Mountains, they used that term to describe 
the thin stand of timber at the top of the distant 
range. Later, the name became "Cataloochee," or 
the colloquial "Catalooch," and it referred to the 
entire watershed of the central stream. 

The Cherokees liked what they saw. They hunted 
and fished throughout the area and established small 
villages along one of their main trails. The Cata- 
loochee Track, as it came to be known, ran from 
Cove Creek Gap at the eastern edge of the present- 
day park up over the Smokies and down through 
what is now the Cosby section of eastern Tennessee. 
It connected large Indian settlements along the up- 
per French Broad River in North Carolina with the 
equally important Overhill Towns of the Tennessee 

By the early 1700s, Cataloochee formed a minor 
portion of the great Cherokee Nation whose towns 
and villages extended from eastern Tennessee and 
western North Carolina into northern Georgia. But 
as time went on, and as the white settlements pushed 
westward from the wide eastern front, the Chero- 
kees lost dominion over this vast area. In 1791, at the 
treaty of Holston, the Cherokees gave up Cataloochee 
along with much of what is now East Tennessee. Five 
years later the state of North Carolina granted 71,210 
hectares (176,000 acres), including all of Cataloochee, 
to John Gray Blount — brother to William Blount, 
governor of the Territory South of the Ohio River, as 
Tennessee was then called. Blount kept the land for 
speculation, but it eventually sold for less than one 
cent per hectare. Now that the Cherokees had 
relinquished the land, no one else seemed to want it. 
Even the famous Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury, 

With (heir trusty mule and 
sourwood sled. Giles and 
Lenard Ownby haul wood for 
making shingles. 


first sent as a missionary to America in 1771 , appar- 
ently wavered in his spirit when confronted with the 
Cataloochee wilderness. In his journal in 1810 he 

''At Catahouche I walked over a log. But O the 
mountain height after height, and five miles over! 
After crossing other streams, and losing ourselves in 
the woods, we came in, about nine o 'clock at night. 
. . . What an awful day!'' 

During the 1820s, only a few hunters, trappers, 
and fishermen built overnight cabins in the area. 
Then in 1834, Col. Robert Love, who had migrated 
from Virginia, fought in the Revolutionary War, and 
established a farm near the present city of Asheville, 
purchased the original Blount tract for $3,000. To 
keep title to the land, Love was required to maintain 
permanent settlers there. He encouraged cattle rang- 
ing and permitted settlers choice locations and un- 
limited terms, and by the late 1830s several families 
had moved into Cataloochee. Probably the first set- 
tler to put down roots was young Levi Caldwell, a 
householder in his early twenties seeking a good 
home for his new family. The rich bottomlands and 
abundant forests of Cataloochee offered that home, 
and before Levi Caldwell died in 1864 at the age of 
49, he and his wife "Polly" (Mary Nailling) had 11 
children. Levi was a prisoner during the Civil War, 
and two of his sons, Andrew and William Harrison, 
fought on different sides. Because he had tended 
horses for the widely feared band of Union soldiers 
called Kirk's Army, Andy received a $12 pension 
when the war was over. William, who might have 
forgiven and forgotten his differences with the Un- 
ion as a whole, was never quite reconciled to his 
brother's pension. 

Although he was older than Levi Caldwell by a full 
21 years, George Palmer arrived later at Catalooch. 
The Palmers had setded further northeast in the 
North Carolina mountains, on Sandy Mush Creek, 
and seemed content there. But when George de- 
cided to start over, he and his wife, also named 
Polly, took their youngest children, Jesse and George 
Lafayette, and crossed the mountains south into 
Cataloochee. They began again. 

Other families trickled in. As elsewhere in South- 
ern Appalachia, buffalo traces and old Indian trails 
and more recent traders' paths gradually became 


Edouard E. Exiine 

roads and highways penetrating the thick forests and 
mountain fastnesses. In 1846, the North CaroHna 
legislature passed an act creating the Jonathan Creek 
and Tennessee Mountain Turnpike Company, which 
was to build a road no less than 3.7 meters (12 feet) 
wide and no steeper than a 12 percent grade. Tolls 
would range from 75 cents for a six-horse wagon 
down to a dime for a man or a horse and one cent for 
each hog or sheep. After a full five years of delibera- 
tion and examining alternatives, the company se- 
lected a final route and constructed the highway 
with minor difficulty. The road fully utilized the 
natural contours of the land and was at the same 
time a generally direct line. It followed almost ex- 
actly the old Cherokee Trail. 

The Cataloochee Turnpike was the first real wagon 
road in the Smokies. It opened up a chink in the 
area's armor of isolation. Travel to and from the 
county seat still required the better part of three 
days, however. Two of the rare 19th century literary 
visitors to these mountains— Wilbur Zeigler and Ben 
Grosscup, whose book The Heart of the Alleghanies, 
appeared in 1883— entered Cataloochee along this 
road. Their reaction provides a pleasant contrast to 
that of Bishop Asbury; they speak of the "canon of 
the Cataluche" as being "the most picturesque valley 
of the Great Smoky range:" 

'T/z^ mountains are timbered, but precipitous: the 
narrow, level lands between are fertile: farm houses 
look upon a rambling road, and a creek, noted as a 
prolific trout stream, runs a devious course through 
hemlock forests, around romantic cliffs, and between 
laureled banks. " 

During the 1840s and 1850s, some 15 or 20 families 
built their sturdy log cabins ax-hewn out of huge 
chestnuts and poplars, and then built barns, smoke- 
houses, corncribs, and other farm shelters beside the 
rocky creeks. George Palmer's son Lafayette, called 
"Fate'' for short, married one of Levi Caldwell's 
daughters and established a large homestead by the 
main stream. Fate's brother, Jesse, married and had 
13 children; 6 of these 13 later married Caldwells. 

They ate well. The creek bottomlands provided 
rich soil for tomatoes, corn and beans, cabbage and 
onions, potatoes and pumpkins. Split rail fences were 
devices to keep the cattle, hogs, and sheep out of the 
crops; the animals themselves foraged freely through- 




Cataloochee and Caldwell— 
the names are nearly synon- 
ymous. The Lush Caldwell 
family once lived in this sturdy 
log house with shake roof and 
stone chimneys on Messer 
Tork. At another time, this 
was the home of the E. J. 
Messers, another of Cata- 
loochee 's predominant 

Pages 22-23: These proud 
people all dressed up in their 
Sunday best are members 
of the George H. Caldwell 




out the watershed, fattening on succulent grasses 
and an ample mast of acorns and chestnuts. Corn 
filled the cribs, salted pork and beef layered the 
meathouse, and cold bountiful springs watered the 

The Civil War erupted in 1861. Although Cata- 
loochee lay officially in the Confederacy, this creek 
country was so remote, so distant from the slave 
plantations of the deep South, that no government 
dominated. Raiding parties from both sides rode 
through the valley, killing and looting as they went. 
Near Mt. Sterling Gap at the northern end of the 
watershed, Kirk's Army made a man named Grooms 
play a fiddle before they murdered him. The people 
of Catalooch kept his memory alive throughout the 
century by playing that ill-starred "Grooms tune.'' 

But the war was only an interlude. Five years after 
its end, Cataloochee was estimated to have 500 hogs, 
sheep, milch cows, beef cattle, and horses; some 900 
kilograms (2,000 pounds) of honey; and about 1,250 
liters (1,320 quarts) of sorghum molasses. Sizable 
apple crops would begin to flourish during the next 
decade, and by 1900 the population of the valley 
would grow to over 700. Producing more than they 
themselves could use, these farmers began to trade 
with the outside world. They took their apples, 
livestock, chestnuts, eggs, honey, and ginseng to 
North Carolina markets in Fines Creek, Canton, and 
Waynesville, and to Tennessee outlets in Cosby, 
Newport, and Knoxville. With their cash money, 
they changed forever the Cataloochee of the early 

They sold honey and bought the tools of 
education. Using the tough, straight wood of a black 
gum or a basswood, a farmer hollowed out a section 
of the trunk with a chisel. He then slid a cross-stick 
through a hole bored near the bottom. Upon 
transplanting a beehive into the trunk and leaving an 
entrance at the bottom, he covered the top with a 
solid wooden lid and sealed it airtight with a mixture 
of mud and swamp-clay. In August, especially after 
the sourwoods had bloomed and the bees had built 
up a store of the delicately flavored honey, the bee- 
keeper took a long hooked honey knife, broke the 
sealing, and cut out squares of the light golden comb 
to fill ten-gallon tins. He never went below the cross- 
stick; that honey was left for the bees. An enterpris- 


in^ family might trade 10 tins of honey in a season. 
And at the market, they would turn that honey into 
school supplies for the coming year: shoes, books, 
tablets, and pencils. 

There were too few families on Big Cataloochee 
for both a Methodist and a Baptist church. In 1858 
Colonel Love's son had deeded a small tract there 
for the Palmers, Bennetts, Caldwells, and Woodys to 
use as a Methodist meetinghouse and school. Since 
then, the Messers and Hannahs and several others 
had formed a community of their own 8 kilometers 
(5 miles) north, across Noland Mountain, along the 
smaller valley of the Little Cataloochee. They built a 
Baptist church there in 1890. 

But the differences were not great. One of the Big 
Cataloochee's sons became and remained the high 
sheriff of sprawling Haywood County with the well- 
nigh solid support of the combined Cataloochee vote. 
Running six times in succession and against a candi- 
date from the southeastern part of the county, he 
was rumored to have waited each time for the more 
accessible lowlands to record their early returns. 
Then he simply contacted a cousin, who happened 
to be the recorder for Cataloochee, who would ask 
in his slow, easy voice, "How many do you need, 

The preacher came once a month. He stayed with 
different families in the community and met the rest 
at church. More informal gatherings, such as Sunday 
School and singings, took place each week. And 
during late summer or fall, when crops were 'laid 
by" and there was an interval between spring's culti- 
vation and autumn's harvest, there came the socializ- 
ing and fervor of camp meeting. A one-week or 
ten-day revival was cause for school to be let out at 
1 1 o'clock each morning. The children were required 
to attend long and fervent services. But between 
exhortations there were feasts of food, frolicking in 
nearby fields and streams, and for everyone an ex- 
change of good fellowship. 

Besides these religious gatherings, women held 
bean-stringings and quilting bees, men assembled for 
logrollings or house-raisings to clear new lands and 
build new homes. One of the few governmental intru- 
sions into Cataloochee life was the road requirement. 
During the spring and fall, all able-bodied men were 
''warned out" for six days— eight if there had been 




\ *#. 

washout rains— to keep up what had become the 
well-used Cataloochee Turnpike. If a man brought a 
mule and a bull-tongue plow instead of the usual 
mattock, he received double time for ditching the 
sides of the road. This heavy work gave the men 
both a chance to talk and something to talk about. 
But any of them would still have said that the hardest 
job of the year was hoeing corn all day on a lonely, 
stony hillside. 

By the early 1900s, Cataloochee had become a 
mixture of isolation from the outside world and com- 
munication with it. Outside laws had affected the 
valley; in 1885 North Carolina passed the controver- 
sial No Fence law, which made fences within town- 
ships unnecessary and required owners to keep 
cattle, sheep, horses, and hogs inside certain bounds. 
But other laws were less heeded; local experts have 
estimated that 95 percent of Cataloochee residents 
made their own whisky. Several families subscribed 
to a newspaper— "Uncle Jim" Woody took The 
Atlanta Constitution — dind almost everyone pos- 
sessed the ''wish-book:" a dog-eared mail order 
catalog. But no one in Little Cataloochee bought an 

The valley thrived on local incidents. A man shot 
a deputy sheriff and hid out near a large rock above 
Fate Palmer's homestead; Neddy McFalls and Dick 
Clark fed him there for years. Will Messer, a master 
carpenter and coffinmaker over on Little Catalooch, 
had a daughter named Ola. Messer was postmaster, 
and the post office acquired her name. Fate Palmer's 
shy son, Robert, became known as the ''Booger Man" 
after he hid his face in his arms and gave that as his 
name to a new teacher on the first day of school. 

George Palmer, son of Jesse and brother to Sheriff 
William, devised a method of capturing wild turkeys. 
He first built a log enclosure, then dug a trench 
under one side and baited it with corn. The next 
morning 10 turkeys, too frightened to retrace their 
steps through the trench, showed up inside the 
enclosure. But when George stepped among them 
and attempted to catch them, the turkeys gave him 
the beating of his life. Thereafter he was called 
Turkey George." And his daughter, Nellie, lent her 
name to one of the two post offices on Big Catalooch. 

Yet the simplicity of life could not insulate the 
Cataloochee area from ''progress." As the 20th cen- 

Like many others in the 
Smokies, Dan Myers of Cades 
Cove kept a few bees. He ap- 
parently was a little more 
carefree than some about the 
tops of his bee gums, or 
hives. Some old boards or 
scraps of tin, with the help 
of a couple of rocks, sufficed, 
whereas most people sealed 
their wooden tops with a lit- 
tle mud. 

Earless Grossman 



'f^^K ' rS^-^^WWt 


tu/y unfolded, scattered individual loggers gave way 
to the well organized methods of large company 
operations. Small-scale cutting of yellow-tulip poplar 
and cherry boomed into big business during the early 
1900s. Suncrest Lumber Company, with a sawmill in 
Waynesville, began operations on Cataloochee Creek 
and hauled out hardwood logs in great quantities. 
Although the spruce and balsam at the head of the 
watershed were left standing, the logging industry, 
with its capital, manpower, and influence, vastly al- 
tered the valley. 

With the late 1920s came an announcement that 
the states of North Carolina and Tennessee had de- 
cided to give the Great Smoky Mountains to the 
nation as a park. The residents of Cataloochee were 
incredulous. They were attached to this homeplace; 
they still referred to a short wagon ride as a trip and 
called a visit to the county seat a journey. But the 
park arrived, and the young families of the valley 
moved away, and then the older ones did the same. 
Gradually they came to understand that another sort 
of homeland had been established. And the strang- 
ers who now visit their valleys and creeks can look 
about and appreciate the heritage these settlers and 
their descendants left behind. 

The old families still come back. They return to 
this creek on the August Sunday of Homecoming. In 
the early morning hours they fill the wooden benches 
of tiny Palmer's Chapel for singing and preaching 
and reminiscing; at noon they share bountiful food 
spread on long plank tables beside clear, rushing 
Cataloochee Creek; in the mellow afternoon they 
rediscover the valley. For what lures the stranger is 
what lures the old families back. They come to sense 
again the beauty and the permanence and even the 
foggy mystery of the Great Smokies. And this that 
beckons them back is that which beckoned the In- 
dian discoverers of these mountains hundreds of 
years ago. 

"Turkey George" Palmer of 
Pretty Hollow Creek in Cata- 
loochee used to tell people 
that he had killed 105 bears. 
Most of them he trapped in 
bear pens. 

Edouard E Exiine 


Rail Fences 

"Something there is that does 
not love a wall," poet Robert 
Frost once wrote. Likewise, 
many mountain people felt 
something there is that does 
not love a fence. Fences 
were built for the purpose of 
keeping certain creatures out 
— and keeping other crea- 
tures in. During early days of 
settlement there were no 
stock-laws in the mountains. 
Cattle, mules, horses, hogs, 
sheep, and fowls ranged freely 
over the countryside. Each 
farmer had to build fences to 
protect his garden and crops 
rom these domestic foragers 

as well as some of the wild 
"varmint" marauders. Rail 
fences had several distinct 
merits: they provided a prac- 
tical use for some of the trees 
felled to clear crop and pas- 
ture land; they required little 
repair; they blended estheti- 
cally into the surroundings 
and landscape. Mountain 
fences have been described 
as "horse-high, bull-strong, 
and pig-tight." W. Clark 
Medford, of North Carolina, 
has told us how worm fences 
(right) were built: 
"There was no way to build a 
fence in those days except 

:.-i< . ':Cy^^^, -^ 

H.Woodbridge Williams 













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ff.. jp-^. 


witlj^ rails— just like there was 
no way to cover a house ex- 
cept with Boards. First, they 
went intothg woods, cut a 
good 'rairtree' and, with axes, 
Its, sDlit the cuts 

(of six-, eight- and ten-foot 
lengths as desired) into the 
rail. After bein? hauled to 
location, they ' 
along the fence-way, which 
had already been cut out and 
"le 'worm' 
rails were put down, end-on- 
end, alternating the lengths- 
first a long rail, then a short 
one — and so on through. Any- 

one who has seen a rail fence 
knows that the rails were laid 
end-on-end at angles— not at 
right angles, but nearly so. 
One course of rails after an- 

fence until it had reached the 
desired height (most fences 
were about eight rails high, 
some ten). Then, at intervals, 
the corners (where the rails 
lapped) would be propped 
with poles, and sometimes a 
stake would be driven. Such 
fences, when built of good 
chestnut or chestnut-oak rails, 
lasted for many years if kept 
from falling down." 

One of the most valuable 
fences ever constructed in the 
Smoky Mountains was surely 
that of Abraham Mingus. 
When "Uncle Abe," one- 
time postmaster and miller, 
needed rails for fencing, he 
"cut into a field thick with 
walnut timber, split the tree 
bodies, and fenced his land 
with black walnut rails." 
The variety of fences was 
nearly infinite. Sherman 
Myers leans against a sturdy 
post and rider (below) near 
Primitive Baptist Church. 
Other kinds of fences are 
shown on the next two pages. 

!\ ?t 



«" J-J 



Mary Birchfield of Cades Co 

usual fence with wire wound around crude pickets. 


The Allisons of Cataloochee built a picket fence around their garden. 

tmmer, farmers enclosed haystacks to keep grazing cattle away. 

''^i#wir if«iif 

<wmm^c'^iw:'W^*^m^aK, TfiiRB>hj-^»w., 


\i Cable s worm, or snake, fence in Cades Cove i^one of the most common kinds of fencing. 

oles were used at John Oliver's Cades Cove farm to line up the wallas it was built. 


*■ p. 

'"IfrnJ/r * < 

Land of the Cherokees 

ri e Cherokees were among the first. They were 
:he first to inhabit the Smokies, the first to leave 
:hem and yet remain behind. By the 1600s these 
[ndians had built in the Southern Appalachians a 
Nation hundreds of years old, a way of life in har- 
Tiony with the surrounding natural world, a culture 
ichly varied and satisfying. But barely two centuries 
ater, the newly formed government of the United 
States was pushing the Cherokees ever farther west, 
[n the struggle for homeland, a new era had arrived: 
a time for the pioneer and for the settler from Europe 
and the eastern seaboard to stake claims to what 
jeemed to them mere wilderness but which to the 
Cherokees was a physical and spiritual abode. 

Perhaps it was during the last Ice Age that Indians 
irifted from Asia to this continent across what was 
hen a land passage through Alaska's Bering Strait. 
Finding and settling various regions of North 
\merica, this ancient people fragmented after thou- 
sands of years into different tribal and linguistic 
stocks. The Iroquois, inhabitants of what are now 
he North Central and Atlantic states, became one of 
he most distinctive of these stocks. 

By the year 1000, the Cherokees, a tribe of 
[roquoian origin, had broken off the main line and 
urned south. Whether wanting to or being pres- 
sured to, they slowly followed the mountain leads of 
he Blue Ridge and the Alleghenies until they 
-cached the security and peace of the mist-shrouded 
Southern Appalachians. These "Mountaineers," as 
3ther Iroquois called them, claimed an empire of 
'oughly 104,000 square kilometers (40,000 square 
niles). Bounded on the north by the mighty Ohio 
River, it stretched southward in a great circle through 
jight states, including half of South Carolina and 
almost all of Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Cherokee settlements dotted much of this terri- 
ory, particularly in eastern Tennessee, western 
^lorth Carolina, and northern Georgia. These state 
egions are the rough outlines of what came to be 
he three main divisions of the Cherokee Nation: the 
X)wer settlements on the headwaters of the Savan- 
lah River in Georgia and South Carolina; the Mid- 
lie Towns on the Little Tennessee and Tuckasegee 
ivers in North Carolina; and the Overhill Towns 
/ith a capital on the Tellico River in Tennessee. 

Between the Middle and the Overhill Cherokee, 

The plight of their Cherokee 
ancestors is revealed in the 
faces ofKweti and child in 
this photograph taken by 
James Mooney. 

Tiithsonian Institution 


National Park Service 

Adventurers were drawn to 
the Great Smoky Mountains 
and the surrounding area in 
the 18th century. In 1760 a 
young British agent from 
Virginia, Lt. Henry Timber- 
lake, journeyed far into 
Cherokee country. He ob- 
served Indian life and even 
sketched a map of the Over- 
hill territory, complete with 
Fort Loudoun, "Chote"or 
Echota, and the "Enemy 
Mountains. " 

Straddling what is now the North CaroHna-Tennessee 
line, lay the imposing range of the Great Smoky 
Mountains. Except for Mt. Mitchell in the nearby 
Blue Ridge, these were the highest mountains east of 
the Black Hills in South Dakota and the Rockies in 
Colorado. They formed the heart of the territorial 
Cherokee Nation. The Oconaluftee River, rushing 
down to the Tuckasegee from the North Carolina 
side of the Smokies, watered the homesites and fields 
of many Cherokees. Kituwah, a Middle Town near 
the present-day Deep Creek campground, may have 
been in the first Cherokee village. 

For the most part, however, the Cherokees settled 
only in the foothills of the Smokies. Like the later 
pioneers, the Cherokees were content with the fer- 
tile lands along the rivers and creeks. But more than 
contentment was involved. Awed by this tangled 
wilderness, the Indians looked upon these heights as 
something both sacred and dangerous. One of the 
strongest of the old Cherokee myths tells of a race of 
spirits living there in mountain caves. These hand- 
some "Little People" were usually helpful and kind, 
but they could make the intruder lose his way. 

If the Cherokees looked up to the Smokies, they 
aimed at life around them with a level eye. Although 
the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and his sol- 
diers ventured through Cherokee country in 1540 
and chronicled generally primitive conditions, a 
Spanish missionary noted 17 years later that the 
Cherokees appeared "sedate and thoughtful, dwell- 
ing in peace in their native mountains; they culti- 
vated their fields and lived in prosperity and plenty." 

They were moderately tall and rather slender with 
long black hair and sometimes very light complexions. 
They wore animal skin loincloths and robes, mocca- 
sins and a knee-length buckskin hunting shirt. A 
Cherokee man might dress more gaudily than a 
woman, but both enjoyed decorating their bodies 
extravagantly, covering themselves with paint and, 
as trade with whites grew and flourished, jewelry. 

The tepee of Indian lore did not exist here. The 
Cherokee house was a rough log structure with one 
door and no windows. A small hole in the bark roof 
allowed smoke from a central fire to escape. Furni- 
ture and decorations included cane seats and painted 
hemp rugs. A good-sized village might number 40 or 
50 houses. 


Chota, in the Overhill country on the Little 
rennessee River, was a center of civil and religious 
uthority; it was also known as a 'Town of Refuge^ 
. place of asylum for Indian criminals, especially 
aurderers. The Smokies settlement of Kituwah 
erved as a ''Mother Town," or a headquarters, for 
>ne of the seven Cherokee clans. 

These clans— Wolf, Blue, Paint, Bird, Deer, Long 
lair, and Wild Potato— were basic to the social 
tructure of the tribe. The Cherokees traced their 
inship by clan; marriage within clans was forbidden, 
^nd whereas the broad divisions of Lower, Middle, 
,nd Overhill followed natural differences in geogra- 
>hy and dialect, the clans assumed great political 
ignificance. Each clan selected its own chiefs and 
:s own "Mother Town.'' Although one or two persons 
n Chota might be considered symbolic leaders, any 
hief s powers were limited to advice and persuasion. 

The Cherokees extended this democratic tone to 
11 their towns. Each village, whether built along or 
lear a stream or surrounded by protective log 
lalisades, would have as its center a Town House 
nd Square. The Square, a level field in front, was 
ised for celebrations and dancing. The Town House 
tself sheltered the town council, plus the entire 
illage, during their frequent meetings. In times of 
lecision-making, as many as 500 people crowded 
Qto the smoky, earth-domed building where they sat 
n elevated rows around the council and heard de- 
>ates on issues from war to the public granary. 

Democracy was the keynote of the Cherokee 
^fation. "White" chiefs served during peacetime; 
Red" chiefs served in time of war. Priests once 
ormed a special class, but after an episode in which 
>ne of the priests attempted to "take" the wife of the 
fading chiefs brother, all such privileged persons 
^ere made to take their place alongside — not in 
ront of— the other members of the community. 

Women enjoyed the same status in Cherokee soci- 
ity as men. Clan kinship, land included, followed the 
nother's side of the family. Although the men hunted 
nuch of the time, they helped with some household 
luties, such as sewing. Marriages were solemnly 
egotiated. And it was possible for women to sit in 
he councils as equals to men. Indeed, Nancy Ward, 
ne of those equals who enjoyed the rank of Beloved 
Voman, did much to strengthen bonds of friendship 


Smithsonian Institution 

Charles S Grossman 



bet veen Cherokee and white during the turbulent 
years of the mid-18th century. The Irishman James 
Adair, v^ho traded with the Cherokees during the 
years 1736 to 1743, even accused these Indians of 
"petticoat government." Yet he must have found 
certain attractions in this arrangement, for he him- 
self married a Cherokee woman of the Deer Clan. 

Adair, an intent observer of Indian life, marveled 
at the Cherokees' knowledge of nature's medicines: 
"/ do not remember to have seen or heard of an 
Indian dying by the bite of a snake, when out at war, 
or a hunting. . . . they, as well as all other Indian 
nations, have a great knowledge of specific virtues in 
simples: applying herbs and plants, on the most dan- 
gerous occasions, and seldom if ever, fail to effect a 
thorough cure, from the natural bush. . . . For my 
own part, I would prefer an old Indian before any 
surgeon whatsoever. ..." 

The Indians marveled at nature itself. A Civil War 
veteran remarked that the Cherokees '^possess a keen 
and delicate appreciation of the beautiful in nature." 
Most of their elaborate mythology bore a direct 
relation to rock and plant, animal and tree, river and 
^ky. One myth told of a tortoise and a hare. The 
tortoise won the race, but not by steady plodding. 
1-Ie placed his relatives at intervals along the course; 
he hare, thinking the tortoise was outrunning him at 
?very turn, wore himself out before the finish. 

The Cherokees' many myths and their obedience 
o nature required frequent performance of rituals. 
There were many nature celebrations, including 
hree each corn season: the first at the planting of 
his staple crop, the second at the very beginning of 
he harvest, the third and last and largest at the 
noment of the fullest ripening. One of the most 
mportant rites, the changing of the fire, inaugurated 
;ach new year. All flames were extinguished and the 
learths were swept clean of ashes. The sacred fire at 
he center of the Town House was then rekindled. 

One ritual aroused particular enthusiasm: war. Bat- 
les drew the tribe together, providing an arena for 
resh exploits and a common purpose and source of 
ispiration for the children. The Cherokees, with 
leir spears, bows and arrows, and mallet-shaped 
lubs, met any challenger: Shawnee, Tuscarora, 
Ireek, English, or American. In 1730, Cherokee 
hiefs told English emissaries: ''Should we make 

A Cherokee fishes in the 
Oconaluftee River. 

A team of oxen hauls a sled 
full of corn stalks for a Cher- 
okee farmer near Ra vensford, 
North Carolina. Oxen were 
more common beasts of bur- 
den in the mountains than 
horses mainly because they 
were less expensive. 

Pages 40-41: At Ayunini's 
house a woman pounds corn 
into meal with a mortar and 
pestle. The simple, log house 
is typical of Cherokee homes 
at the turn of the century. 
This one has stone chimneys, 
whereas many merely had a 
hole in the roof. 

Smithsonian Institution 



!^S„; %•< 



^ -: 
/^"^/' "i 



/ /'~ 


peace with the Tuscaroras ... we must immediately 
look for some other with whom we can be engaged 
in our beloved occupation." Even in peacetime, the 
Cherokees might invade settlements just for practice. 

But when the white man came, the struggle was 
for larger stakes. In 1775 William Bartram, the first 
able native-born American botanist, could explore 
the dangerous Cherokee country and find artistry 
there, perfected even in the minor arts of weaving 
and of carving stone tobacco pipes. He could meet 
and exchange respects with the famous Cherokee 
statesman AttakuUakuUa, also known as the Little 
Carpenter. And yet, a year later, other white men 
would destroy more than two-thirds of the settled 
Cherokee Nation. 

Who were these fateful newcomers? Most of them 
were Scotch-Irish, a distinctive and adventuresome 
blend of people transplanted chiefly from the 
Scottish Lowlands to Northern Ireland during the 
reign of James I. Subsequently they flocked to the 
American frontier in search of religious freedom, 
economic opportunity, and new land they could call 
their own. 

In the late 1600s, while the English colonized the 
Atlantic seaboard in North and South Carolina and 
Virginia, while the French setded Alabama, Missis- 
sippi, and Louisiana ports on the Gulf of Mexico, 
and while the Spanish pushed into Florida, 5,000 
Presbyterian Scots left England for "the Plantation" 
in Northern Ireland. But as they settled and 
prospered, England passed laws prohibiting certain 
articles of Irish trade, excluding Presbyterians from 
civil and military offices, even declaring their minis- 
ters liable to prosecution for performing marriages. 

The Scotch-Irish, as they were then called, found 
such repression unbearable and fled in the early 18th 
century to ports in Delaware and Pennsylvania. With 
their influx, Pennsylvania land prices skyrocketed. 
Poor, rocky soil to the immediate west turned great 
numbers of these Scotch-Irish southward down 
Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and along North 
Carolina's Piedmont plateau. From 1732 to 1754, the 
population of North Carolina more than doubled. 
Extravagant stories of this new and fertile land also 
drew many from the German Palatinate to America; 
during the middle 1700s these hardworking "Penn- 
sylvania Dutch" poured into the southern colonies. 


Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia were colo- 
nies of the crown, and the Scotch-Irish and Germans 
intermarried with the already settled British. These 
Englishmen, of course, had their own reasons for 
leaving their more conservative countrymen in the 
mother country and starting a whole new life. Some 
were adventurers eager to explore a different land, 
some sought religious freedom, not a few were sec- 
ond sons— victims of the law of primogeniture — who 
arrived with hopes of building new financial empires 
of their own. They all confronted the frontier. 

They encountered the Cherokee Nation and its 
vast territory. Earliest relations between the Chero- 
kees and the pioneers were, to say the least, marked 
by paradox. Traders like James Adair formed eco- 
nomic ties and carried on a heavy commerce of guns 
for furs, whisky for blankets, jewelry for horses. But 
there was also deep resentment. The English 
:olonies, especially South Carolina, even took In- 
dian prisoners and sold them into slavery. 

The Spanish had practiced this kind of slavery, 
irguing that thus the Indians would be exposed to 
he boon of Christianity. The English colonies em- 
ployed what were known as "indentured servants," 
)ersons who paid off the cost of their passage to 
\merica by working often as hard as slaves. And in 
ater years both the white man and some of the more 
)rosperous Cherokees kept Negro slaves. Such in- 
tances in the Nation were more rare than not, 
lowever, and a Cherokee might work side by side 
vith any slave he owned; marriage between them 
^as not infrequent. Be that as it may, the deplorable 
olonial policy of enforced servitude at any level, 
/hich continued into the late 1700s, sowed seeds of 
itterness that ended in a bloody harvest. 
Like the pioneers, the Cherokees cherished liberty 
bove all else and distrusted government. Both left 
sligion to the family and refused to institute any 
rthodox system of belief. Even the forms of humor 
I 'ere often parallel; the Cherokee could be as sarcas- 
c as the pioneer and used irony to correct behavior. 
.s one historian put it; 'The coward was praised for 
is valor; the liar for his veracity; and the thief for 
is honesty." But through the ironies of history, the 
30tch-Irish-English-German pioneers of the high- 
nds, who were similar to the Cherokees in a multi- 
ide of ways and quite different from the lowland 


Smithsonian Institution 

In 1730, Sir Alexander Cum- 
ing took seven Cherokee lead- 
ers to England in an attempt 
to build up good relations 
with the tribe. Among the 
group was the youth Ukwan- 
eequa (right), who was to be- 
come the great Cherokee 
chief Attakullakulla. 

aristocrats, became the Indians' worst enemy. 

Their confHct was, in a sense, inevitable. The 
countries of England and France and their represen- 
tatives in America both battled and befriended the 
Cherokees during the 18th century. Their main con- 
cern lay in their own rivalry, not in any deep-founded 
argument with the Indians. As they expanded the 
American frontier and immersed themselves in the 
process of building a country, the colonists inevit- 
ably encroached upon the Cherokee Nation. 

In 1730, in a burst of freewheeling diplomacy, the 
British sent a flamboyant and remarkable represen- 
tative. Sir Alexander Cuming, into remote Cherokee 
country on a mission of goodwill. After meeting with 
the Indians on their own terms and terrain, Cuming 
arranged a massive public relations campaign and 
escorted Attakullakulla and six other Cherokee lead- 
ers to London, where they were showered with gifts 
and presented at court to King George II. The Cher- 
okees aUied themselves with Britain, but this did not 
discourage the French from trying to win their 
allegiance. When the English in 1743 captured a 
persuasive visionary named Christian Priber who 
sought to transform the Cherokee Nation into a so- 
cialist Utopia, they suspected him of being a French 
agent and took him to prison in Frederica, Georgia. 
He was left to die in the fort. 

The British soldiers were not as friendly as British 
diplomats. During the French and Indian War of the 
late 1750s and the early 1760s, when England battled 
France for supremacy in the New World, English 
soldiers treated the Cherokees with disdain and 
violence. The Cherokees returned the atrocities in 
kind. The frontier blazed with death and destruction; 
each side accumulated its own collection of horrors 
endured and meted out. Although Cherokee chiefs 
sued for peace. Gov. William Henry Lyttleton of 
South Carolina declared war on them in 1759. The 
Carolinas offered 25 English pounds for every Indian 
scalp. A year later the Cherokees, under the com- 
mand of Oconostota, captured Fort Loudoun at the 
fork of the Tellico and Little Tennessee rivers. But in 
June of 1761, Capt. James Grant and some 2,600 
men destroyed the Nation's Middle Towns, burning 
600 hectares (1,500 acres) of corn, beans, and peas, 
and forcing 5,000 Cherokees into the forests for the 


/Jter the English defeated the French in 1/63, the 
British government moved to appease the Indians 
and consohdate its control of the continent. A Brit- 
ish proclamation forbade all white settlement beyond 
the Appalachian divide. But the proclamation was 
soon to be broken. Pioneers such as Daniel Boone 
and James Robertson successfully led their own and 
neighbors' families through Appalachian gaps and 
river valleys until a trickle of explorers became a 
flood of homesteaders. During the next decade, set- 
tlers poured across the mountains into Kentucky 
and northeastern Tennessee. 

While England was regaining the friendship of the 
Cherokees, the American colonists were alienating 
both the Indians and the British. In the late 1760s a 
group of North Carolinians calling themselves Regu- 
lators opposed taxation, land rents, and extensive 
land grants to selected individuals, and caused un- 
rest throughout the Piedmont. In 1771, at Alamance, 
an estimated 2,000 Regulators were defeated by the 
troops of British Gov. William Tryon. Thousands of 
anti-royalist North Carolinians fled westward as a 
result of this battle. Alexander Cameron, an English 
representative living in the Overhill Towns, wrote in 
1766 that the pioneer occupation of Cherokee lands 
amounted to an infestation by villains and horse 
thieves that was ''enough to create disturbances 
among the most Civilized Nations." 

The protest spirit of the Regulators spread to the 
New England colonies during the early 1770s. By 
1776, when the American Revolution began, the 
Cherokees had understandably but unfortunately 
:hosen to take the British side. Britain issued guns to 
ill Indians and offered rewards for American scalps, 
/et this was not enough to secure the over-mountain 
erritory for the English crown. Within a year, Ameri- 
can forces were fighting for the frontier, and in a 
coordinated pincer movement. Col. Samuel Jack 
vith 200 Georgians, Gen. Griffith Rutherford with 
!,400 North Carolinians, Col. Andrew Williamson 
vith 1,800 South Carolinians, and Col. William Chris- 
ian with 2,000 Virginians demolished more than 50 
Cherokee towns. Two treaties resulted from this 
ampaign; more than 2 million hectares (5 million 
cres) of Indian land, including northeastern Ten- 
essee, much of South Carolina, and all lands east of 
le Blue Ridge, were ceded to the United States. 



Peace did not follow the treaties, however. Drag- 
ging Canoe, pock-marked son of AttakuUakulla, de- 
cided to fight. Against the wishes of many Cherokee 
chiefs, he organized a renegade tribe that moved to 
five Lower Towns near present-day Chattanooga 
where they became known as the Chickamaugas. 
But the eventual outcome of the drama had already 
been determined. Despite conflict and danger, the 
settlers pushed on. In 1780 the Tennesseans John 
Sevier and Isaac Shelby joined forces with those of 
William Campbell from Virginia and Joseph McDowell 
from North Carolina and managed to win a decisive 
victory over the English at Kings Mountain, South 
Carolina. By fighting Indian-style on rugged hillside 
terrain, they overwhelmed a detachment of General 
Cornwallis' southern forces under Col. Patrick 
Ferguson. These over-mountain men immediately 
returned to Tennessee and in reprisal for Indian 
raids during their absence destroyed Chota and nine 
other Overhill Towns, slaughtering women and chil- 
dren as well as Cherokee warriors. 

In 1783, with the end of the Revolution, all hope 
for the survival of the original Cherokee Nation was 
extinguished. Although the newly formed American 
government attempted to conciliate the Indians, it 
could not prevent its own citizens from hungering 
for ever larger bites of land. Treaties with the loose 
Cherokee confederation of clans became more and 
more frequent. As if by fate, a disastrous smallpox 
epidemic struck the Cherokees; the number of warri- 
ors dwindled to less than half of what it had been 50 
years before. The Cherokee capital was moved from 
Chota southward into Georgia. In 1794 Maj. James 
Ore and 550 militiamen from Nashville, Tennessee, 
Dbliterated the Chickamaugas and their Five Towns. 

Most of the Cherokees parted with the Smokies. 
\i the Treaty of Holston in 1791, they gave up the 
lortheastern quarter of what is now the park. Seven 
/ears later, they ceded a southern strip. And at 
vVashington, D.C., in February of 1819, nearly a 
:entury after their first treaty with the white man in 
721, the Cherokees signed their 21st treaty. This 
ime they parted with a quarter of their entire Nation, 
md they lost the rest of their sacred Smoky 
fountains. Scattered families continued to live in 
he foothills. But the newcomer— this pioneer turned 
ettler— had arrived. 

mithsonian Institution 

Ayunini, or Swimmer, was 
a medicine man. He was a 
major source of information 
about Cherokee history, 
mythology, botany, and med- 
icine when James Mooney of 
the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology visited the area in 1888. 



Into the Smokies they came, but the coming was 
slow. The early pioneers of the Old Southwest had 
conquered the lowlands of North Carolina and 
Tennessee with relative ease. The higher country of 
the Great Smoky Mountains, set into the Southern 
Appalachians like a great boulder among scattered 
stones, would yield less quickly. 

The pioneers began, as the Cherokees had done, 
with the most accessible land. The level Oconaluftee 
valley, stretching its timbered swath from present- 
day Cherokee, North Carolina, on up into the forks 
and tributaries of the Great Smokies, beckoned with 
at least some possibilities to the hopeful settler. As 
early as 1790, Dr. Joseph Dobson, a North Carolina 
Revolutionary War veteran who had accompanied 
Rutherford on his 1777 campaign against the 
Cherokees, entered into deed a tract on the 
Oconaluftee. But the claim was void; the valley still 
belonged to the Indians. 

John Walker had also ridden with Rutherford. His 
son Felix, a student and friend of Dr. Dobson, law- 
fully received in 1795 a sizable land grant to the 
v'alley. Young Walker was more than willing to let 
settlers attempt development of this wild area. Two 
North Carolina families decided to try. John Jacob 
Vlingus and Ralph Hughes took their wives and chil- 
dren and journeyed into the "Lufty" regions of the 
Smokies. They cleared small homesteads by the 
iver; they were all alone. 

In 1803, Abraham Enloe and his family moved up 
rom South Carolina and joined the growing families 
)f Mingus and Hughes. Enloe chose land directly 
icross the river from John Mingus, and by 1820 
\braham's daughter Polly had married John, junior. 
Dr. John," as the younger Mingus was respectfully 
:alled in his later years, learned much about medi- 
cine from the scattered Cherokees remaining in the 

Other families, Carolinian and Georgian and 
/irginian alike, arrived and stayed. Collins, Bradley, 
Jeck, Conner, Floyd, Sherrill: these and others set- 
led beside the river itself, and their children moved 
long the creeks and branches. Fresh lands were 
leared, new homes built; the Oconaluftee was being 
ransformed. And further to the southwest, Forney 
>eek was being claimed by Crisps and Monteiths, 
^oles and Welches; Deep Creek had already been 

3ura Thornborough 

Between her many had-lo-be- 
done tasks around the house, 
Mollie McCarter Ogle rocks 
her daughter Mattie on the 


colonized by Abraham Wiggins and his descendants. 

The Tennessee side of the Smokies, furrowed by 
its own series of rivers and creeks, awaited 
settlement. By 1800 a few Virginians and Carolinians 
were drifting into the four-year-old state of Ten- 
nessee, willing to settle. 

The first family of Gatlinburg was probably a 
mother and her seven children. This widow, Martha 
Huskey Ogle, brought five sons and two daughters 
from Edgefield, South Carolina. Richard Reagan, a 
Scotch-Irishman from Virginia, and his family joined 
the Ogles and began to clear land. His son, Daniel 
Wesley Reagan, born in 1802, was the first child of 
the settlement and later became a leading citizen of 
the community. The elder Reagan was fatally in- 
jured when a heavy wind blew the limb from a tree 
on him, reminding the little community once more 
of the precarious nature of survival in this free, stern 

Maples, Clabos, and Trenthams followed the Ogles 
and the Reagans into the Gatlinburg area. Nearby 
Big Greenbrier Cove became known as "the Whaley 
Settlement." Some settlers traveled directly across 
the crest of the Smokies, via Indian and Newfound 
Gaps, but these old Cherokee trails and cattle paths 
were rough and overgrown. Horses could barely 
make it through, and most possessions had to be 
carried on stout human shoulders. Besides the usual 
pots, tools, guns, and seeds were the Bibles and 
treasured manmade mementos. 

Many settlers, having been soldiers of the 
Revolution, had received 20-hectare (50-acre) land 
grants for a mere 75 cents. They pushed along the 
West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, past 
Gatlinburg, up among the steep slopes of the Bull 
Head, the Chimney Tops, the Sugarland Mountain. 
This narrow Sugarlands valley, strewn with water- 
smoothed boulders and homestead-sized plateaus of 
level land, attracted dozens of families. But this rocky 
country forced the settlers to clear their fields twice, 
first of the forest and then of the stones. 

The work of clearing demanded strong muscles, 
long hours, and sturdy spirits. It meant denting the 
hard armor of the forest and literally fighting for a 
tiny patch of cropland. Men axed the huge trees with 
stroke after grinding stroke, then either wrenched 
the stumps from the earth with teams of oxen or 


Edouard E Exline 

buraed them when they had dried. Some trees were 
so immense that all a man could do was "girdle" 
them, which meant deep-cutting a fatal circle into 
the bark to arrest the flow of sap. Such "deadenings" 
might stand for years with crops planted on the ''new 
ground," before the trees were finally cut and often 
burned. Logs and stumps from the virgin forest often 
smouldered for days or weeks. 

The soil itself was rich and loamy with the topsoil 
of centuries. Land that had produced great forests 
could also nourish fine crops. During the first year of 
settlement, all able-bodied members of the family 
helped cultivate the new ground. Such land de- 
manded particular attention. Using a single-pointed 
'Bull tongue" plow to bite deep into the earth and a 
sharp iron "coulter" to cut tough roots left under the 
massive stumps, a succession of plows, horses, and 
vvorkers prepared and turned the newly cleared field. 
The first man "laid off" the rows into evenly spaced 
engths, the second plowed an adjacent furrow, and 
:he wife or children dropped in the seed. A third 
dIow covered this planted row by furrowing along its 
;ide. A short while later, the same workers would 
'bust middles" by plowing three extra furrows into 
he ground between the seeded rows. This loosened 
he soil and destroyed any remaining roots. 

While fields throughout the Smokies were yielding 

o the plow, even more isolated coves and creeks 

vere being penetrated and settled. Gunters, Webbs, 

vlcGahas, and Suttons found their way into Big 

"reek. And in 1818, John Oliver walked into a se- 

Muded Tennessee cove, spent the night in an Indian 

lut, and then became familiar with one of the most 

)eautiful and productive spots in all the Great 

>niokies. This broad, well-watered basin of fertile 

and was named after the wife of an old Cherokee 

hief ; it was called Kate's Cove, later Cades Cove. 

John Oliver settled in that cove. Three years 

Iter— two years after the decisive 1819 treaty with 

he Cherokees— William Tipton settled there legally, 

•ought up most of the land, and parceled it out to 

•aying newcomers. David Foute came and estab- 

shed an iron forge in 1827. By mixing iron ore with 

mestone and charcoal, this "bloomery forge" pro- 

uced chunks of iron called "blooms." The forge, 

imilar to many which sprang up throughout 

ippalachia, was indeed an asset, but its low-grade 

Uncle George Lamon sits 
next to one of his honey bee 
boxes at his home in Gum- 
stand, near Gatlinburg. 


Most families had several 
scaffolds in their yards on 
which they dried fruits, beans, 
corn, and even duck and 
chicken feathers for stuffing 

Near most houses was a 
smokehouse in which meat 
was cured and often stored 
for later use. 

Fruits and other goods were 
stored in barns or sheds, of- 
ten located over cool springs. 

ore and the cost of charcoal forced it to close only 20 
years later. 

Russell Gregory built a homestead high in the 
cove and ranged cattle on a nearby grassy bald. 
These mysterious open meadows scattered through- 
out the Smokies were of unknown origin. Had In- 
dians kept them cleared in years gone by? Had some 
unexplained natural circumstance created them? Pio- 
neers and later experts alike remained baffled and 
attracted by the lush grass which, growing among 
forest-covered crags and pinnacles, provided excel- 
lent forage for livestock. The present-day Parson's 
and Gregory Balds were named for enterprising 
farmers who made early use of this phenomenon. 
Peter Cable, a friend of William Tipton, joined the 
valley settlement in Cades Cove. Cable's son-in-law, 
Dan Lawson, expanded Cable's holdings into a nar- 
row mountain-to-mountain empire. 

Cades Cove, with its vast farmland, soon rivaled 
Oconaluftee and Cataloochee. The lower end of the 
cove sometimes became swampy, but this pasture 
was reclaimed by a series of dikes and log booms. To 
escape an 1825 epidemic of typhoid in the Tennessee 
lowlands, Robert Shields and his family moved up 
into the hill-guarded cove. Two of his sons married 
John Oliver's daughters and remained in Cades Cove. 
A community had been formed. 

But the life in these small communities was not 
easy. Each family farmed for a living; each family 
homestead provided for its own needs and such luxu- 
ries as it could create. Isolation from outside mar- 
kets made cash crops, and hence cash itself, 
relatively insignificant. The settlers of the Great 
Smokies depended upon themselves. They built their 
own cabins and corncribs, their own meat- and apple- 
and spring-houses. They cultivated a garden whose 
corn, potatoes, and other vegetables would last the 
family through the winter. They set about insuring a 
continuous supply of pork and fruit and grains, wool 
and sometimes cotton, and all the other commodi- 
ties necessary to keep a family alive. 

Living off the land required both labor and 
ingenuity. These early settlers did not mind fishing 
and hunting for food throughout the spring, summer, 
and early fall, but there were also the demands of 
farming and livestock raising. They carved out of 
wood such essentials as ox yokes and wheat cradles. 


Edouard E Exiine 


J" -1 


Alden Stevens 

spinning wheels and looms. Men patiently rebuilt 
and repaired anything from a broken harness to a 
sagging ''shake" roof made of hand-riven shingles. 
Children picked quantities of wild berries and bush- 
els of beans in sun-hot fields and gathered eggs from 
hidden hen nests in barn lofts and under bushes. 
They found firewood for the family, carried water 
from the spring, bundled fodder from cane and corn, 
and stacked hay for the cattle, horses, mules, and 

Women made sure that the food supply stretched 
to last through the winter. They helped salt and cure 
pork from the hogs that their husbands slaughtered. 
They employed a variety of methods to preserve 
vital fruits and vegetables. Apples, as well as beans, 
were carefully dried in the hot summer or autumn 
sun; water, added months later, would restore a 
tangy flavor. Some foods were pickled in brine or 

Women also used sulphur as a preservative, espe- 
cially with apples. Called simply ''fruit" by the early 
settlers, apples such as the favorite Limbertwigs and 
Milams gave both variety and nutrition to the pio- 
neer diet. A woman might peel and slice as much as 
two dishpans of "fruit" into a huge barrel. She would 
then lay a pan of sulphur on top of the apples and 
light the contents. By covering the barrel with a 
clean cloth, she could regulate the right amount of 
fumes held inside. The quickly sulfurated apples 
remained white all winter and were considered a 
delicacy by every mountain family. 

Food, clothing, shelter, and incessant labor: these 
essentials formed only the foundation of a life. Intan- 
gible forces hovered at the edges and demanded 
fulfillment. As hardy and practical as the physical 
existence of the pioneers had to be, there was an- 
other dimension to life. The pioneers were human 
beings. Often isolated, sometimes lonely, they 
yearned for the comforts of myth and superstition 
and religion— and the roads that led in and out. The 
Cherokees in their time had created such comforts; 
they had woven their myths and had laced the 
Smokies with a network of trails. Now it was the 
white man's turn. 

The early settlers of the Great Smoky Mountains 
were not content to remain only in their hidden 
hollows and on their tiny homesteads. Challenging 

In the days before refrig- 
erators, many methods and 
kinds of containers were used 
in preserving and storing 
foods. Corn meal, dried beans 
and other vegetables, and 
sulphured fruits were kept in 
bins made from hollow black 
gum logs. 

Food also was stored in pie 
safes. The pierced tin panels 
allow air into the cabinet but 
prevent flies from getting at 
the food. 

Edouard E Exhne 


the mountain ranges and the rough terrain, they 
constructed roads. In the mid- 1830s, a project was 
undertaken to lay out a road across the crest of the 
Smokies and connect North CaroHna's Little Tennes- 
see valley with potential markets in Knoxville, 
Tennessee. Although the North Carolina section was 
never completed, an old roadbed from Cades Cove 
to Spence Field is still in existence. When Julius 
Gregg established a licensed distillery in Cades Cove 
and processed brandy from apples and corn, farmers 
built a road from the cove down Tabcat Creek to the 
vast farmlands along the Little Tennessee River. 

By far the most ambitious road project was the 
Oconaluftee Turnpike. In 1832, the North Carolina 
legislature chartered the Oconaluftee Turnpike 
Company. Abraham Enloe, Samuel Sherrill, John 
Beck, John Carroll, and Samuel Gibson were com- 
missioners for the road and were authorized to sell 
stock and collect tolls. The road itself was to run 
from Oconaluftee all the way to the top of the 
Smokies at Indian Gap. 

Work on the road progressed slowly. Bluffs and 
cliffs had to be avoided; such detours lengthened the 
turnpike considerably. Sometimes the rock was diffi- 
cult to remove. Crude blasting— complete with hand- 
hammered holes, gunpowder inside hollow reeds, 
and fuses of straw or leaves— constituted one quick 
and sure, but more expensive, method. Occasionally, 
the men burned logs around the rock, then quickly 
showered it with creek water. When the rock split 
from the sudden change in temperature, it could 
then be quarried and graded out. Throughout the 
1830s, residents of Oconaluftee and nearby valleys 
toiled and sweated to lay down this single roadbed. 

This desire and effort to conquer the wilderness 
also prompted the establishment of churches and, to 
a lesser extent, schools. In the Tennessee Sugarlands, 
services were held under the trees until a small build- 
ing was constructed at the beginning of the 19th 
century. The valley built a larger five-cornered Bap- 
tist church in 1816. Prospering Cades Cove estab- 
lished a Methodist church in 1830; its preacher rode 
the Little River circuit. Five years later, the church 
had 40 members. 

Over on the Oconaluftee, Ralph Hughes had do- 
nated land and Dr. John Mingus had built a log 
schoolhouse. Monthly prayer meetings were held 



there until the Lufty Baptist Church was officially 
organized in 1836. Its 21 charter members included 
most of the turnpike commissioners plus the large 
Mingus family. Five years later, the members built a 
log church at Smokemont on land donated by John 

Nothing fostered these settlers' early gropings to- 
ward community more than stories. Legends and tall 
tales, begun in family conversations and embellished 
by neighborly rumor, forged a bond, a unity of 
interest, a common history, in each valley and on 
each meandering branch. For example, in one west- 
ern North Carolina tradition that would thrive well 
into the 20th century, Abraham Enloe was cited as 
the real father of Abraham Lincoln. Nancy Hanks, it 
was asserted, had worked for a time in the Enloe 
household and had become pregnant. Exiled to 
Kentucky, she married Thomas Lincoln but gave 
birth to Abraham's child. 

Stories mingled with superstition. The Cherokees 
dropped seven grains into every corn hill and never 
thinned their crop. Many early settlers of the 
Smokies believed that if corn came up missing in 
spots, some of the family would die within a year. 
Just as the Cherokees forbade counting green mel- 
ons or stepping across the vines because 'it would 
make the vines wither,'' the Smokies settlers looked 
upon certain events as bad omens. A few days before 
Richard Reagan's skull was fractured, a bird flew on 
the porch where he sat and came to rest on his head. 
Reagan himself saw it as a ''death sign." 

Superstition, combined with Indian tradition, led 
to a strangely exact form of medicine. One recipe for 
general aches and pains consisted of star root, 
sourwood, rosemary, sawdust, anvil dust, water, and 
vinegar. A bad memory required a properly "sticky" 
tea made of cocklebur and jimsonweed. 

A chief medicinal herb was an unusual wild plant 
known as ginseng. Called "sang" in mountain 
vernacular, its value lay in the manlike shape of its 
Jual-pronged roots. Oriental cultures treasured 
ginseng, especially the older and larger roots. Re- 
Duted to cure anything from a cough to a boil to an 
nternal disorder, it was also considered an aphrodis- 
ac and a source of rare, mystical properties. But 
jcientific research has never yielded any hard evi- 
ience of its medicinal worth. 


Alan Rinehart 

Aunt Sophie Campbell made 
clay pipes at her place on 
Crockett Mountain and sold 
them to her neighbors and to 
other folks in the Gatlinburg 

Settlers used ginseng sparingly, for it brought a 
high price when sold to herb-dealers for shipment to 
China. The main problem lay in locating the five- 
leaved plants, which grew in the most secluded, 
damp coves of the Smokies. Sometimes several mem- 
bers of a family would wait until summer or early 
fall, then go out on extended "sanging'' expeditions. 

The search was not easy. During some seasons, 
the plant might not appear at all. When it did, its 
leaves yellowed and its berries reddened for only a 
few days. But when a healthy ''sang'' plant Vv'as finally 
found, and its long root carefully cleaned and dried, 
it could yield great financial reward. Although the 
5-year-old white root was more common, a red- 
rooted plant needed a full decade to mature and was 
therefore especially prized. Greed often led to wan- 
ton destruction of the beds, with no seed-plants for 
future harvests. Ginseng was almost impossible to 

Ginseng-hunting became a dangerous business. Al- 
though Daniel Boone dug it and traded in it, later 
gatherers were sometimes killed over it. One large 
Philadelphia dealer who came into Cataloochee in 
the mid- 1800s was murdered and robbed. Anyone 
trying to grow it, even if he were successful, found 
that he would have to guard the plants like water in a 
desert. Indeed, the rare, graceful ginseng became a 
symbol for many in the mountains of all that 
was unique, so readily destroyed, and eventually 

As much as the pioneers drew on Indian 
experience, they also depended on their own re- 
sourcefulness. One skill which the early settlers 
brought with them into the Smoky Mountains in- 
volved a power unknown to the Cherokees. This was 
the power of the rifle: both its manufacture and the 
knowledge of what the rifle could do. 

The backwoods rifle was a product of the early 
American frontier. Formally known as the "Pennsyl- 
vania-Kentucky" rifle, this long-barreled innovation 
became a standby throughout the Applachians. To 
assure precise workmanship, it was made out of the 
softest iron available. The inside of the barrel, or the 
bore, was painstakingly "rifled'' with spiralling 
grooves. This gradual twist made the bullet fly harder 
and aim straighter toward its target. The butt of the 
weapon was crescent-shaped to keep the gun from 


National Park Service 

slipping. All shiny or highly visible metal was 
blackened, and sometimes a frontiersman would rub 
his gun barrt:;l with a dulling stain or crushed leaf. 

But the trademark of the "long rifle" was just that: 
its length. Weighing over 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) 
and measuring more than 1.2 meters (4 feet), the 
barrel of the backwoods rifle could be unbalancing. 
Yet this drawback seemed minor compared to the 
superior accuracy of the new gun. The heavy barrel 
could take a much heavier powder charge than the 
lighter barrels, and this in turn could, as an expert 
noted, "drive the bullet faster, lower the trajectory, 
make the ball strike harder, and cause it to flatten 
out more on impact. It does not cause inaccurate 
flight. . . r 

The Pennsylvania-Kentucky rifle became de- 
fender, gatherer of food, companion for thousands 
of husbands and fathers. Cradled on a rack of whit- 
tled wooden pegs or a buck's antlers, the "rifle-gun" 
hung over the door or along the wall or above the 
"fire-board," as the mantel was called, within easy 
and ready reach. It was the recognized symbol of the 
fact that each man's cabin was his castle. 

Equipped with a weapon such as this, pioneer 
Americans pushed back the frontier. The fastnesses 
of the Great Smoky Mountains gradually submitted 
to the probing and setding of the white man. The 
fertile valleys were settled, the hidden coves were 
conquered. The Oconaluftee Turnpike to the top of 
the Smokies was completed in 1839. And in that 
fateful year, disaster was stalking a people who had 
known the high mountains but who had not known 
of the ways of making a rifle. 

A young Smokies lad stands 
proudly with his long rifle and 
powder horn before heading 
off to the woods on a hunting 


Rifle Making 

Of all the special tasks in the 
Great Smoky Mountains, ri- 
fle making was perhaps the 
most intricate and the most 
;. From the forging 
e barrel to the filing of 
the dduble trigger and the 
carving of the stock, the con 

proved to be a process both 
painstaking and exciting. Af- 
ter the barrel was shaped on 
the anvil, its bore was cleaned 
to a glass-like finish by insert- 
ing and turning an iron rod 
with steel cutters. When the 
rod could cut no more, the 
'lavings from the bore were 

removed. The riflmg of the 
barrel, or cutting the neces- 
sary twists into the bore, re- 
quired a 3-meters-long (10- 
foot) assembly, complete with 
barrel, cutting rod, and rif- 
hng guide. The 1.5-rneter (5- 
foot) wooden guide, whose 
parallel twists had been care- 
fully cut into it with a knife, 
could be turned by a man 
pushing it through the spiral- 
edged hole of a stationary 
"head block." The resulting 
force and spin drove the cut- 
ting rod and its tiny saw into 
the barrel, guiding its move- 
ment as it "rifled" the gun. 

Most of the rifles in the 
Smokies had an average spin 
Or twist of about one turn in 
122 centimeters (48 inches), 
the ordinary original length 
of the barrel. A later step— 
•'dressing out" the barrel with 
a greased hickory stick and a 
finishing saw— usually took a 
day and a half to be done 
right. Likewise, the making 
of a maple or walnut rifle 
stock, or the forging of the 
bullet mold, led gunsmiths to 
adopt the long view of time 
and the passing of days in the 
Great Smoky Mountains. 
Two such gunsmiths were 

Matt Ownby and Wiley Gib- 
son. Ownby ( far left) fits a 
barrel to an unfinished stock 
as the process of rifle making 
nears its end. Gibson (below), 
the last of four generations of 
famous Smoky Mountain 
gunsmiths, works at his forge 
in Sevier County, Tennessee. 
Over the years Gibson lived ' 
in several places in Sevier 
County, and in each one he 
set up a gun shop. As he 
tested one of his finished 
products (left), Gibson com- 
mented: "I can knock a sqi ' 
rel pine blank out of a tree at 
60 vards." 


A Band of Cherokees Holds On 

The Cherokees who remained in the East endured 
niany changes in the early 1800s. 

As their Nation dwindled in size to cover only 
portions of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and 
Tennessee, the influence of growing white settle- 
ments began to encroach on the old ways, the ac- 
cepted beliefs. Settlers intermarried with Indians. 
Aspects of the Nation's civilization gradually grew to 
resemble that of the surrounding states. 

The Cherokees diversified and improved their ag- 
ricultural economy. They came to rely more heavily 
on livestock. Herds of sheep, goats, and hogs, as well 
as cattle, grazed throughout the Nation. Along with 
crops of aromatic tobacco, and such staples as 
squash, potatoes, beans, and the ever-present corn, 
the Cherokees were cultivating cotton, grains, indigo, 
and other trade items. Boats carried tons of export 
to New Orleans and other river cities. Home industry, 
such as spinning and weaving, multiplied; local mer- 
chants thrived. 

Church missions and their attendant schools were 
established. As early as 1801, members of the Soci- 
ety of United Brethren set up a station of mission- 
aries at a north Georgia site called Spring Place. 
And within five years, the Rev. Gideon Blackburn 
from East Tennessee persuaded his Presbyterians to 
subsidize two schools. 

In 1817, perhaps the most famous of all the Chero- 
kee missions was opened on Chickamauga Creek at 
Brainerd, just across the Tennessee line from 
Georgia. Founded by Cyrus Kingsbury and a com- 
bined Congregational-Presbyterian board, Brainerd 
Mission educated many Cherokee leaders, including 
Elias Boudinot and John Ridge. Samuel Austin 
Worcester, a prominent Congregational minister 
from New England, taught at Brainerd from 1825 
until 1834. He became a great friend of the Chero- 
kees and was referred to as "The Messenger." 

In 1821, a single individual gave to his Nation an 
educational innovation as significant and far-reaching 
as the influx of schools. A Cherokee named 
Sequoyah, known among whites as George Gist, had 
long been interested in the "talking leaves" of the 
white man. After years of thought, study, and hard 
work, he devised an 86-character Cherokee alphabet. 
Born about 1760 near old Fort Loudoun, Tennessee, 
Sequoyah had neither attended school nor learned 

Walini was among the Chero- 
kees living on the Qualla Res- 
ervation in North Carolina 
when James Moonev visited 
in 18^8. 

Smithsonian Institution 


Smithsonian Institution 

Sequoyah displays the Chero- 
kee alphabet he developed. 

English. By 1818, he had moved to Willstown in what 
is now eastern Alabama and had grown interested in 
the white man's ability to write. He determined that 
he would give his own people the same advantage. 

The first painstaking process he tried called for 
attaching a mark to each Cherokee word. These 
marks soon mounted into the thousands. As he 
sensed the futility of this one-for-one relationship, he 
examined English letters in an old newspaper. His 
own mind linked symbols of this sort with basic 
sounds of the Cherokee tongue. After months of 
work, he sorted out these sounds and assigned them 
symbols based, to a large extent, upon the ones he 
had seen in the newspaper. When he introduced his 
invention to his fellow Cherokees, it was as if he had 
loosed a floodgate. Within the space of a few weeks, 
elders and children alike began to read and write. 
The change was incredible. 

Sequoyah himself vaulted into a position of great 
respect inside the Nation. One of his many awestruck 
visitors, John Howard Payne, described him with the 
finest detail and noted that Sequoyah wore 
"... a turban of roses and posies upon a white ground 
girding his venerable grey hairs, a long dark blue 
robe, bordered around the lower edge and the cuffs, 
with black: a blue and white minutely checked cal- 
ico tunic under it, confined with an Indian beaded 
belt, which sustained a large wooden handled knife, 
in a rough leathern sheath; the tunic open on the 
breast and its collar apart, with a twisted handker- 
chief flung around his neck and gathered within the 
bosom of the tunic. He wore plain buckskin leggings; 
and one of a deeper chocolate hue than the other. 
His moccasins were unornamented buckskin. He had 
a long dusky white bag of sumac with him, and a 
long Indian pipe, and smoked incessantly, replenish- 
ing his pipe from his bag. His air was altogether what 
we picture to ourselves of an old Greek philosopher. 
He talked and gesticulated very gracefully; his voice 
alternately swelling, and then sinking to a whisper, 
and his eye firing up and then its wild flashes subsid- 
ing into a gentle and most benignant smile. " 

During the 1820s, Sequoyah moved west to 
Arkansas. Preoccupied with the legend of a lost 
band of Cherokees somewhere in the Rocky 
Mountains, he initiated several attempts to discover 
the group. But age caught up with him. He died 


Smithsonian Institution 

alone in northern Mexico in the summer of 1843. He 
had brought his Nation a long way. His name would 
be immortalized in the great redwood tree of the Far 
West, the giant sequoia. And in a sense his spirit 
lived on in the first Cherokee newspaper— the 
Cherokee Phoenix— vjhich was established in 1828 
at New Echota, with Elias Boudinot as its editor and 
Samuel Worcester as its business manager. 

The Cherokees also made remarkable changes in 
government. In 1808, they adopted a written legal 
code; a dozen years later, they divided the Nation 
into judicial districts and designated judges. The first 
Supreme Court of the Cherokees was established in 
1822, and by 1827 the Nation had drawn up an 
American-based Constitution. The president of the 
constitutional convention was a 37-year-old leader 
named John Ross. A year later, he began a 40-year 
term as principal chief of his people. 

But whatever the progress of the internal affairs of 
the Cherokee Nation, political relations with the 
United States steadily disintegrated. Although the 
first quarter of the 19th century saw a sympathetic 
man. Return Jonathan Meigs, serve as America's 
southern Indian agent, even he and his position could 
not prevent the relentless pursuit of Indian territory. 

In 1802 and 1803, the U.S. Government set a 
dangerous precedent for the Cherokees. In return 
for Georgia's abandonment of her claims to the Mis- 
sissippi Territory, the United States agreed to extin- 
guish all Indian titles for lands lying within Georgia. 
This indicated that the government was no longer 
prepared to defend the Cherokee Nation. 

President Thomas Jefferson acted to alleviate 
some of the Cherokee loss. He suggested a program 
of removal west to a portion of the newly acquired 
Louisiana Purchase. Most Cherokees hated the plan, 
yet some harassed bands made the trip to what is 
now Arkansas. The foot was in the door; hereafter, 
the government could point to a few Cherokees in 
Arkansas and direct others there. Even though 800 
eastern Cherokee warriors fought alongside Ameri- 
cans during the War of 1812, the United States came 
to recognize only the government of the Cherokees 

But what of the Cherokees East? They waited. 
They pursued daily routines while the pressures 
around them gathered and grew. And by 1828, these 

Students stand before the 
original school building at 
Dwight Mission, the first 
Cherokee mission west of the 
Mississippi River. The one- 
room log schoolhouse is very 
much like those the white set- 
tlers built and used for years 
in the Smokies. 


Smithsonian Institution 

John Ross remained firm in 
his opposition to the removal 
of the Cherokees. He was in 
the last group to leave. 

Elias Boudinot (top), editor 
of the Cherokee Phoenix, 
bowed to pressure and joined 
those willing to move west. 

pressures had reached a degree which showed the 
Cherokees that the final crush was on. 

It began inside the Nation. In the winter of 1828, 
an old Cherokee councilman, Whitepath, rose up in 
rebellion against the new constitution. Suspicious of 
the Nation's whirlwind progress, fearful of the 
Nation's stormy enemies, Whitepath attempted to 
persuade his 15,000 countrymen to hold fast to the 
ways of the past. He assembled a series of localized 
meetings, where he advocated the abandonment of 
white religion, society, economy. He called for a 
return to tribal organization, but his call fell on 
younger ears and his plan was doomed to failure. 

The Cherokees turned to John Ross for leader- 
ship. Like Sequoyah, John Ross possessed both grace 
and ability. These assets, combined with courage, 
enabled him to accomplish seemingly remote goals 
for his people. This handsome statesman, educated 
by his own father, represented the middle ground of 
Cherokee policy. Though refusing the reactionism 
of a Whitepath, John Ross also rejected any proposal 
to move west. For he knew that his people had lived 
here in the Smokies and belonged here, and he would 
not have them forced from their homeland. 

Andrew Jackson would. This stern Tennessee sol- 
dier and politician began his career as a headlong 
Indian fighter and never lost the zeal. Although Jack- 
son the soldier had been aided numerous times by 
Cherokee warriors, Jackson the politician was deter- 
mined to move the Cherokees west. And in the 
watershed years of 1828 and 1829, Andrew Jackson 
was elected and sworn in as President of the United 

Events conspired against the Nation. In July of 
1829, in what is now known as Lumpkin County, 
Georgia, a few shiny nuggets of gold were discov- 
ered on Ward's Creek of the Chestatee River. Within 
days, fortune hunters swarmed into the territory; 
more than 10,000 gold-seekers squatted on Chero- 
kee lands, disregarded Cherokee rights, and pillaged 
Cherokee homes. With Jackson's support, the Geor- 
gia legislature passed laws confiscating Indian land, 
nullifying Indian law, and prohibiting Indian assembly. 
By the end of 1829, the script for Cherokee removal 
had been blazoned in gold. 

But there was more. Andrew Jackson asked Con- 
gress for ''a general removal law" that would give 


him prime authority in the matter at the same time 
that it formed the basis for future treaty negotiation. 
Congress passed the Removal Act, which included a 
half-million dollar appropriation for that purpose, in 
May of 1830. Davy Crockett, whose legendary ex- 
ploits and down-to-earth compassion made him per- 
haps the best representative of the mountain spirit, 
was a U.S. congressman at the time. Although his 
grandfather had been murdered by Dragging Canoe, 
Davy Crockett argued against and voted against the 
bill. He was the only Tennessean to do so, and he 
was defeated when he ran for reelection. 

Cherokee leaders sought help from the U.S. 
courts. Their friend and missionary, sober and trou- 
bled Samuel Worcester, fell victim to a Georgia law 
"prohibiting the unauthorized residence of white men 
within the Cherokee Nation.'' Worcester appealed to 
the Supreme Court, which in February of 1832 con- 
sidered the case of Worcester v. Georgia. On March 
3, a feeble Chief Justice John Marshall read the 
Court's decision to a packed room: all the Georgia 
laws against the Cherokee Nation were declared 

Elias Boudinot, editor of the Phoenix and a special 
friend of Worcester, wrote to his brother and ex- 
pressed the Nation's joy and relief: 
"// is glorious news. The laws of the state are de- 
clared by the highest judicial tribunal in the country 
to be null and void. It is a great triumph on the part 
of the Cherokees. . . . The question is forever settled 
as to who is right and who is wrong. " 

Yet Andrew Jackson would not stand for such a 
settlement. "John Marshall has made his decision," 
Jackson thundered, "now let him enforce it." This 
was the single instance in American history where 
the President so bluntly and openly defied a Su- 
preme Court ruling. The situation grew more bleak. 
Worcester was released from jail only after appeal- 
ing to the "good will" of the state of Georgia. Mat- 
ters worsened as Georgia conducted its Cherokee 
Lottery of 1832, and thousands of white men 
descended onto lots carved out of the Cherokee 

Boudinot and several other Cherokee leaders, in- 
cluding John Ridge, grew discouraged to the point of 
resignation. Jackson's attitude as President, coupled 
with Georgia's unrelenting attack and the Supreme 

Smithsonian Institution 

Major Ridge signed a treaty 
ceding all of the Cherokees ' 
land in the east to the United 
States. He. his son John, and 
his nephew Elias Boudinot 
were "executed" on June 22, 


Court's inability to stop it, caused a change of heart 
in Boudinot and Ridge. Boudinot stepped down from 
the Phoenix and, with Major Ridge, became an im- 
portant spokesman for a minority faction of Chero- 
kees which was prepared to move west. However, 
John Ross continued to speak for the vast majority 
who rejected any discussion of removal. 

By 1835, the rift between the Ridge party and John 
Ross' followers had become open and intense. Seek- 
ing to take advantage of this division, Jackson ap- 
pointed a New York minister, J.F. Schermerhorn, to 
deal with Boudinot and Ridge. The Cherokee sup- 
porters of Ross hated this "loose Dutch Presbyterian 
minister" and referred to him as "The Devil's Horn." 

On several occasions, Ross attempted to negotiate 
a reasonable solution with Washington. He was frus- 
trated at every turn. In November of 1835, he and 
the visiting John Howard Payne were arrested by the 
Georgia militia. In jail, Payne heard a Georgia guard 
singing "Home Sweet Home" outside his cell. Payne 
asked the man if he knew that his prisoner had 
written the song; the guard seemed unimpressed. 
After spending nine days in jail, Ross and Payne 
were released without any explanation for their 

Ross traveled on to Washington to resume nego- 
tiations. While he was there, Schermerhorn and 
the Ridge party drew up and signed a treaty. En- 
dorsed by a scant one-tenth of the Nation's 16,000 
Cherokees, this treaty ceded to the United States all 
eastern territory in exchange for S5 million and a 
comparable amount of western land. Cherokees 
throughout the Nation registered shock and betrayal; 
Boudinot and Ridge, their lives already threatened 
numerous times, would be murdered within four 
years. Yet despite Ross' protestations of fraud, the 
U.S. Senate ratified the minority Treaty of New 
Echota by one vote. A new President, Martin Van 
Buren, authorized Gen. Winfield Scott to begin the 
removal of all Cherokees in the summer of 1838. 

Scott, while determined to carry out the removal, 
tried in vain to restrain his troops from inflicting 
undue hardships. Scott's soldiers moved relentlessly 
through the Nation. As one private remembered it in 
later years; 

''Men working in the fields were arrested and driven 
to the stockades. Women were dragged from their 


homes by soldiers whose language they could not 
mderstand. Children were often separated from their 
parents and driven into the stockades with the sky 
for a blaniet and earth for a pillow. " 

The soldiers built 13 stockades in North Carolina, 
Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Using these as 
base camps, they scattered throughout the country- 
side with loaded rifles and fixed bayonets. As they 
herded Indians back toward the forts, bands of rov- 
ing outlaws burned the homes, stole the livestock, 
robbed the graves. Throughout the summer, a sti- 
fling drought settled over the hot, depleted Nation. 
By August, many of the captured Cherokees had 
succumbed to sickness or even death. 

Removal itself began during the autumn. A few 
early contingents had been moved out along the 
Tennessee River in large two-decker keelboats. The 
majority would travel overland. Thirteen detach- 
ments of about 1,000 each, plus 645 wagons carrying 
the sick and aged, departed from southeastern 
Tennessee. Early on in their journey, the weather 
changed. Winter stalked the doomed procession with 
the tenacity of a bloodhound. By the time the Chero- 
kees crossed the Mississippi River many had died 
because of lack of food and warmth. In March of 
1839, the dwindling band reached what is now 
Oklahoma. Four thousand Cherokees, almost one- 
third of all who left their mountain homeland, had 
been taken by the cold, hard hand of death. 

The tragedy would be recorded in history as the 
'Trail of Tears." Along the route, old Whitepath 
died. The wife of John Ross gave her blanket to a 
sick child and herself suffered fatal exposure. A 
white Georgia volunteer summarized the needless 
pain in one short sentence: 'That Cherokee removal 
was the crudest work I ever knew." But disaster was 
not the final conqueror. For out of that cruelty came 
sacrifice; out of that death came rebirth. 

The improbable source of that rebirth was a 
farmer named Tsali. Old Man Charley. Until Octo- 
ber of 1838, he was simply another Indian to be 
herded to the stockade. A lieutenant and three other 
soldiers were assigned to capture all Cherokees along 
the headwaters of the Oconaluftee. As the patrol 
traveled up the Little Tennessee River, it rounded up 
Tsali, his family, and a few friends. The soldiers 
prodded the Indians with bayonets and forced Tsali's 

Smithsonian Institution 

Ginatiyun tiki, or Stephen 
Tehee, was born in Georgia 
six months before the remov- 
al of the Cherokees to the 
West. He served as a tribal 
delegate to Washington in 



V>^ TaWasI 

Present Day 
rQualla Reservation 

Big Cove 
^^ - Echota • Kituhwa , r,— BIrdtown 

Qra^ Telllco • Cowee • ~ -"-* 




• Spring Place 


New Echots • 

-OF 1819 



wife to hasten her steps. Driven to anger and 
desperation, Tsah called the other warriors to action, 
in the quick, sudden tangle that followed, at least 
one soldier was killed. Tsali and his small band fled 
across the river high into the Great Smoky 
Mountains. They hid in a massive rock shelter at the 
head of Deep Creek. Located on top of a steep cliff, 
the actual camping place lay in the midst of 
extensive, thick laurel and hemlock ''roughs.'' Sev- 
eral hundred other Cherokees escaped from the sol- 
diers or the stockades and found similar hiding places 
on the rugged, overgrown sides of the Smokies. Most 
of them lasted out the winter, subsisting at a 
near-starvation level on roots, herbs, nuts, and small 

Confronted with such determination and the likeli- 
hood of a prolonged, wearisome mission of search 
and arrest in the rugged mountains. General Scott 
offered a compromise. If Tsali and his small party 
would come down and give themselves up for 
punishment, the rest of the Cherokee fugitives would 
be allowed to stay in the mountains until a solution 
could be reached by all sides. Scott sent W. H. 
Thomas, a white man who had grown up with the 
Cherokees, into the Smokies to present the terms. 
Thomas found Tsali, who silently listened and de- 
cided on his own accord to accompany Thomas out 
of the mountains. Early in the year of 1839, Tsali and 
his brother and his eldest son were shot by a firing 
squad. The youngest son, Wasituna (for Washington) 
was left to take word of the deaths back to the 
Cherokees who remained in their hills. 

They had held onto their homeland in the Great 
Smoky Mountains. By nothing more than the thin 
grip of desperate determination, they had held on, 
and they would remain. Reinforced by General 
Scott's promise, scattered friends in the East, and 
Thomas' political negotiations with Washington and 
North Carolina, the Cherokee remnant soon became 
the Eastern Band. Their homeland would now be 
known as the Qualla Reservation. So the Cherokees 
East, along with the white pioneers of the Great 
Smokies, turned together to brace the mountainous 
challenge of the 19th century. 

Smithsonian Institution 

Tsiskwa-kaluya, or Bird 
Chopper, was son of Yonah- 
guskah, the famous Chero- 
kee chief and spokesman 
who stayed with the small 
group in the Great Smoky 



:\»mm)>« l iXKi i iiiwwiii 



From Pioneer to Mountaineer 

While events of the early 19ih century in the sur- 
rounding southland and the nation were moving 
inexorably toward conflict on bloody battlefields to 
decide issues which could not or would not be re- 
solved in the political arena, people in the Great 
Smokies were pursuing their struggle to survive and 
adapt to their stern and splendid surroundings. 

The early explorers, the long hunters, the initial 
homesteaders, the trailblazers and the groundbreak- 
ers— these had forever set a human seal upon the 
wilderness. Now it was the time of pioneer becoming 
mountaineer. Henceforth, as new settlers or curious 
travelers or specialized seekers in a dozen fields 
made their way into the mountains, they would find 
someone already there to welcome them. 

That "someone" was becoming known by terms 
which might alternately serve as a source of 
description, derision, or definition. Highlander. 
Hillbilly. Mountaineer. The least offensive word was 
"highlander,'' with its overtones of the misty Scottish 
landscape and fierce clan loyalties from which many 
of the Smokies' family lines had recently descended. 
"Mountaineer" varied. Used to denote the proud 
individualism that characterized many of the stal- 
wart men and women whose roots held deep and fast 
in this isolated place, "mountaineer" was a strong, 
acceptable name. But turned into a catchword for 
some picturesque, inadequate character who divided 
his time between the homemade dulcimer and the 
home-run distillery, "mountaineer" was suspect. 
"Hillbilly" came to verge on insult, as it conjured up 
cartoons of lanky, sub-human creatures who were 
quick to feud, slow to work, and often indifferent to 
the "progress" by which helpful visitors would like to 
transform mountain lives and attitudes. 

Of course, the trouble with any single word that 
tried to summarize these complex and distinctive 
lives was its limited ability to convey more than a 
stereotype or a single facet. Yet the 19th and early 
20th centuries saw the rise and wide adoption of 
such terms, with an accompanying unease — some- 
times outrage— on the part of those described. This 
tension has persisted into the present day, for South- 
ern Appalachian natives often have felt they have 
been misunderstood, or exploited, by the curious 

The visitors indeed were curious— curious about 

Aaron Swaniger was an indi- 
vidualist who occasionally 
stayed in Cades Co ve. To 
some "mountaineers" he was 
a "hillbillv. " 

Edouard E Exiine 




mountain people but also about topography, alti- 
ujdes, plants, wildlife, and the rich variety of natural 
resources abounding throughout these hills. Natural- 
ists and botanists followed the lead of Frenchman 
Andre Michaux and Philadelphian William Bartram, 
who had come collecting plants in the Southern 
mountains during the previous century. It was 
Michaux who had told mountain herb-gatherers 
about ginseng's commercial value, and Bartram who 
had discovered and described the showy flame azalea 
brightening the spring woods. 

Among 19th-century arrivals, S. B. Buckley wrote 
the earliest comprehensive botanical report of the 
Great Smokies. He marveled at that scenery, 
"surpassing anything we remember to have seen 
among the White Mountains of New Hampshire," 
and at the variety of flora. ''Here," he wrote in the 
mid-1800s, ''is a strange admixture of Northern and 
Southern species of plants, while there are quite a 
number which have been found in no other section 
of the world." Later naturalists would share his en- 
thusiasm and enlarge on his studies. 

Journalists came. One was a reporter named 
Charles Lanman, secretary to Daniel Webster, who 
rode through the hills in 1848 and wrote a book 
called Letters from the Alleghany Mountains. 
Through his descriptive adventures readers had a 
glimpse into a region more remote to their experi- 
ence than many foreign countries. If the Smokies 
were described by him as one large upthrust, per- 
haps that was because he saw the range through a 
purple haze. He wrote at one point: 
"This mountain is the loftiest of a large brotherhood 
which lies crowded together between North Caro- 
lina and Tennessee. Its height cannot be less than 
five thousand feet above the level of the sea . . . and 
all I can say of its panorama is that I can conceive of 
nothing more grand and imposing. " 

Lanman was only the first of many writers who 
would come seeking high adventure and good copy, 
but his lack of exactitude about the physical features 
of the mountains was soon to be remedied by an- 
other group of visitors. Some scientists could not be 
content with hunters' yarns and the poetic prose of 
journalists; they wanted precise facts and figures by 
which both native and stranger could better appreci- 
ate the landscape. 

Cherokee veterans of Thomas ' 
Legion attending a Confeder- 
ate reunion in the early 19()0s 
in New Orleans include (front 
from left) Young Deer, un- 
identified man, Pheasant, 
Chief David Reed, (back from 
left) Dickev Driver, Lt. Col. 
W. W. Stringfield, Lt. Suatie 
Owl, and Jim Keg. Stringfield 
was a white officer in the le- 
gion which participated with 
varying degrees of .success in 
several skirmishes in the 
Smokies and, perhaps more 
importantly, which helped 
build the Oconaluftee Turn- 
pike across the mountains. 

National Park Service 


One of these was Thomas Lanier Clingman, whose 
career included being a U.S. senator and a Confeder- 
ate general as well as a scientist. A contemporary 
historian described him as being arrogant, aggressive, 
with ''more than common ability" but limited scien- 
tific knowledge, whose chief service lay in arousing 
public curiosity in the mountains, mineralogy, and 
geography. He became involved in a scholarly feud 
with Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a transplanted Connecticut 
professor at the University of North Carolina, over 
which peak constituted the highest point east o( the 
Mississippi River. While they were trying to settle 
the question, Mitchell was killed in an accidental fall 
on the slopes of the North Carolina pinnacle which 
later was given his name. Clingman's name came to 
grace the mountain he had explored and measured: 
2,025-meter (6,643-foot)-high Clingmans Dome on 
the crest of the Great Smokies, only 13 meters (43 
feet) lower than the lofty Mt. Mitchell. 

The most fascinated and impressive visitor during 
these years of the mid- 19th century came from an- 
other mountain terrain. Arnold Guyot, remembered 
today by the peak at the eastern end of the Great 
Smokies which bears his name, was born in 
Switzerland in 1807. His studies in physical geogra- 
phy had won him distinction throughout Europe be- 
fore he came to America and accepted a chair at 
Princeton University in 1854. Paul Fink, a historian 
of the Great Smoky Mountains, has said that al- 
though forerunners of Guyot glimpsed segments of 
the Smokies and described certain details, 
"// remained for this man of foreign birth to pene- 
trate these mountains, spend months among them, 
measure their heights for the first time, and have 
drawn under his own direction the first map we have 
showing the range in detail. " 

Clingman secured for his friend Guyot a local 
guide named Robert Collins. The mountain man and 
the professor struggled through the roughest laurel 
"hells" and up the steepest slopes, measuring, 
calibrating, and finally naming many of the unknown 
heights. Guyot's journals combined precision and 
poetry, and they related the awesome Smokies to the 
human scene in ways that had not been previously 
possible. From that point on, natives and visitors 
alike could both know and appreciate more of this 
green homeland. But, as Paul Fink has pointed out, 


"With Guyot's labors the early explorations of the 
Smokies ceased." 

Why? What happened to cut off so abruptly the 
increasing flow of visitors to this virgin country? The 
happening was war. 

The Great Smokies country, with its upland farms 
and small home crafts, was not in the mainstream of 
the decisive struggle between a plantation South and 
an industrial North. Nor was it in the mainstream of 
the violent action that convulsed its surrounding 
region. There had been slaves in some of the more 
prosperous mountain households, but few citizens in 
the Great Smokies area would have waged war ei- 
ther to defend or abolish the peculiar institution. 

What some did resist was being conscripted by 
either side. "Scouting'' became a well-used word de- 
fining a new experience in the Smokies. It applied to 
anyone hiding out in the hills to escape going into 
the Confederate or the Union army. Secretly sup- 
plied with food and clothes by their families and 
sympathetic friends, such ''scouts" could hold out 
for years against the searches of outlander officials. 
Sometimes they did in fact become scouts, guiding 
escaped captives from Andersonville and other Con- 
federate prisons through the mountains toward 
northern territory, and those fleeing from Yankee 
prisons toward their southern homes. 

Many of the mountain people, of course, followed 
the example of their neighbors throughout the re- 
gion and put on the formal uniform of blue or gray. 
There were sharp divisions within counties, towns, 
and families in the choice between state and nation. 
Perhaps no single section of the United States was as 
bitterly torn in its allegiance. 

Tennessee and North Carolina had long held 
strong Union sentiments; but when Lincoln called 
for troops in the aftermath of the firing on Fort 
Sumter, the two states officially rallied to the Confed- 
erate cause. North Carolinians, who had been nota- 
bly reluctant to leave the Union and who bristled at 
the injustices of "a rich man's war and a poor man's 
fight," nonetheless sent more men to the Confeder- 
acy than any other state. Many of these were west- 
ern North Carolinians, following the leadership of 
their own Zebulon (Zeb) Baird Vance, born in Bun- 
combe County and occupying the governor's chair 
in Raleigh during the war. Yet the fact that adjoining 


Charles S Grossman 

Mountain women and girls 
had to be proficient at mak- 
ing many things, for there 
weren 't many — if any — stores 
nearby. Over the years. Ha- 
zel Bell and many another 
woman spent hours and 
hours churning butter. 

East Tennessee was overwhelmingly Union — and 
sent more men into the Federal forces than some of 
the New England states— affected the North Carolini- 
ans as well. With the two states' actual secession 
from the Union, numerous mountain pockets in ef- 
fect seceded from their states and chose to remain 
loyal to the Union. Thus the little rebellion inside 
the larger revolt compounded the agonizing conflict 
of war and made every cove and community and 
hearthside a potential battleground. 

And no matter which army the men marched with, 
their characteristics remained surprisingly intact. 
The historian of one North Carolina Confederate 
regiment described some of the soldiers from 
Haywood County: 

"These mountain men had always been accustomed 
to independence of thought and freedom of action, 
and having elected for their company officers their 
neighbors and companions, they had no idea of sur- 
rendering more of their personal liberty than should 
be necessary to make them effective soldiers. Obedi- 
ent while on duty and independent while off duty, 
this spirit to a marked degree they retained to the 
close of the war. " 

The experience of Radford Gatlin concentrated in 
a single episode both the sharp divisions and the 
ironies of war in the mountains. Gatlinburg, now a 
commercial and flourishing tourist mecca at the edge 
of the park, bears the name of a man who was driven 
out of that town because of his unpopular stand 
during the war. The sturdily built, enterprising, and 
somewhat arrogant Gatlin was not a man to conceal 
his beliefs. With his wife and a slave woman he had 
come from North Carolina by way of Jefferson 
County, Tennessee, to the community known as 
White Oak Flats and had established a successful 
general store and a less successful church: the New 
Hampshire Baptist Gatlinites. When Dick Reagan 
was appointed postmaster for a new postal service to 
be established in White Oak Flats in 1860, the office 
was located amidst the axes, guns, coffee, sugar, and 
bells of Gadin's store, and Reagan renamed the post 
office, and therefore the town, after his good friend 
the storekeeper. 

But when war came and Radford Gatlin not only 
supported the Confederacy but made heated speeches 
in its favor, the strongly Unionist villagers turned 


against him. After being beaten by a band of masked 
men, Gatlin abandoned his claim to thousands of 
hectares that now He within the park and departed 
forever from the place that was to perpetuate his 
name if not his memory. 

The war's severest hardships followed in the wake 
of the outliers, or the bushwhackers. These scaveng- 
ers favored no cause. As the war dragged on, they 
ambushed and raided, stealing meat from the 
smokehouse, corn from the crib, and farm animals 
from barn and pasture. Scarcity and want became 
commonplace throughout the mountains. In North 
Carolina's Madison County, a group of citizens broke 
into a warehouse and laid claim to a valuable 
commodity, salt. Economic want enflamed political 
emotions. In Tennessee's Sevier County, controver- 
sial "Parson" Brownlow, Methodist circuit-rider 
turned newspaper editor turned politician, sought 
refuge in the shadow of the Smokies with Unionist 
sympathizers when Knoxville came under Confeder- 
ate control. 

A well-known army unit operated in the Smokies: 
Col. William Thomas' Confederate 69th-N.C., known 
as Thomas' Legion of Indians and Highlanders. 
"Little Will," as he was affectionately called, had 
become the effective spokesman in Washington and 
at the state level for the eastern remnant of the 
Cherokee. When the Civil War came and he chose 
to stay with the South, the Cherokees chose to stay 
with him. For a while, they secured mineral supplies 
for the Confederacy, including alum and saltpeter 
for gunpowder. The Legion guarded Alum Cave in 
the Smokies. Under Thomas' direction, his unit also 
worked on the Oconaluftee Turnpike. 

In December 1863, after Gen. Ambrose E. 
Burnside had secured Knoxville for the Union, Col. 
William J. Palmer and the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry 
attacked Thomas' camp near Gatlinburg. After a 
short battle, Thomas and his troops retreated across 
the mountains into North Carolina. One month later. 
Confederate Gen. Robert P. Vance decided to rem- 
edy the situation in the mountains. With 375 cavalry, 
100 infantry, and artillery, he marched from 
Asheville, joined Thomas and 150 Indian troops in 
Ouallatown, and crossed the Smokies during a 
bitterly cold spell. While Thomas remained in 
Gatlinburg, Vance proceeded toward Newport, 

Page 80: Aunt Celia Ownhv 
cards, or straightens, wool fi- 
bers that have already been 

Page HI: He t tie, Martha, and 
Louisa Walker run cotton 
through a gin built by their 
father, John. He made the 
rollers out of hickory and the 
rest out of oak. Three people 
were required to operate the 
gin: one to feed the cotton 
into it and one on each end 
to turn each of the rollers. 
The ginned cotton fell into a 
white oak basket, also made 
by John Walker. 

Wash day was a laborious 
one of lifting large buckets of 
water and stirring steaming 
kettles of dirty clothes. 

Over another fire, Mrs. Kate 
Duckett and daughter Tennie 
of Coopers Creek make hard 
soap. Mrs. Duckett stirs the 
lard with a wooden paddle as 
Tennie fans the fire with a 
hawk wing before dipping 
into the kettle with a gourd 
scoop. It was a five-hour 



« » « « 

Edouard E Exiine 

Charles S Grossman 


camped on Cosby Creek deep in the Smokies, and 
was surprised there by none other than Colonel 
Palmer and his 15th-Pa. In the resulting rout, Gen- 
eral Vance was captured along with about every- 
thing else: men, horses, medical supplies, food, 
ammunition. In February, Thomas and his Legion 
were engaged once more, in the Great Smoky Moun- 
tains near the mouth of Deep Creek. The result was 
another defeat, this time by the 14th Illinois Cavalry 
under Maj. Francis Davidson. 

Thomas and his Legion did not win mighty mili- 
tary victories for the Confederacy; Governor Vance 
even accused Thomas' command of being "a favor- 
ite resort for deserters.'' But it appears that this 
strange little mountain force did act as a deterrent 
against wholesale raids in the Smokies by Federal 
sympathizers, and to some extent, raids by maraud- 
ing bushwhackers. As for "Little Will" himself, men- 
tal disorder in later years brought him his own 
personal civil war and its losing battles. He died in a 
North Carolina hospital. 

An equally well-known force in the Great Smokies 
during the war was a band of Union raiders led by 
Col. George W. Kirk. One contemporary called him 
"Kirk of Laurel," referring to a remote watershed in 
Madison County where the colonel often camped. 
Kirk's most effective march into the Smokies came 
near the close of the war, in the early spring of 1865. 
With 400 cavalry and 200 infantry he entered the 
mountains through East Tennessee's Cocke County, 
via Mt. Sterling, and marched into Cataloochee. 
Turning aside a Confederate company there, he went 
on to Waynesville, then proceeded to Soco Valley 
and back across the Smokies. 

Kirk raided, released Federal prisoners, skirmished 
with home guards, and scattered general fear 
throughout the mountains. In fact, his main achieve- 
ment for his cause lay in diverting Confederate 
troops and keeping them scattered on the home 
front rather than mobilized on the battlefields where 
they were desperately needed. Try as they might, the 
Confederates could not find enough of the "silver- 
greys" or the "seed-corn" — as those too old and too 
young for regular service were called — to totally 
protect their homeland from Kirk's men, or from 
renegade bushwhackers who had no cause but plun- 
der and pillage. 


As the Civil War drew tov/ard its final convulsion, 
the mountain area engaged in a more familiar strug- 
gle for survival. Food was scarce, soda and salt al- 
most non-existent. Women leached lye from wood 
ashes and made soda. There was no substitute for 
salt; when available, it cost a precious dollar a pound. 
Bitter enmities divided families, communities, and 
counties. Life had never been easy in the mountains; 
now it was rigorously difficult. And the people in this 
land of ''make do or do without" learned new ways 
to make do. Continuing old habits and traditions up 
their isolated coves and along their steep hillsides, 
they created a life that was distinctive, rugged, and 
adapted to its natural surroundings. 

One historian, John Preston Arthur, has described 
the mountain woman's day as follows: 
"Long before the pallid dawn came sifting in through 
chink and window they were up and about. As there 
were no matches in those days, the housewife 
'unkivered' the coals which had been smothered in 
ashes the night before to be kept 'alive ' till morning, 
and with 'kindling' in one hand and a live coal held 
on the tines of a steel fork or between iron tongs in 
the other, she blew and blew and blew till the splin- 
ters caught fire. Then the fire was started and the 
water brought from the spring, poured into the 
'kittle, ' and while it was heating the chickens were 
fed, and cows milked, the children dressed, the bread 
made, the bacon fried and then coffee was made and 
breakfast was ready. That over and the dishes 
washed and put away, the spinning wheel, the loom 
or the reel were the next to have attention, mean- 
while keeping a sharp lookout for the children, 
hawks, keeping the chickens out of the garden, 
sweeping the floor, making the beds, churning, 
sewing, darning, washing, ironing, taking up the 
ashes, and making lye, watching for the bees to 
swarm, keeping the cat out the milk pans, dosing the 
sick children, tying up the hurt fingers and toes, 
kissing the sore place well again, making soap, rob- 
bing the bee hives, stringing beans for winter use, 
working the garden, planting and tending a few hardy 
flowers in the front yard, such as princess feather, 
pansies, sweet-Williams, dahlias, morning glories: 
getting dinner, darning, patching, mending, milking 
again, reading the Bible, prayers, and so on from 
morning till night; and then all over again the next day. " 

Josephs Hall 

Mrs. Clem Enloe of Tight 
Run Branch was 84 years old 
when Joseph S. Hall photo- 
graphed her in 1937. "I was 
told that if I took her a box of 
snuff, she would let me talce 
her picture. " That 's the snuff 
in her blouse. She didn 't give 
in so easily on everything. She 
refused to observe the park 's 
fishing regulations and fished 
every season of the year. She 
was filling a can with worms 
when Hall approached. "See 
that, "she said pointing to the 
can, "/ use them for fishing 
and Tm the only one in this 
park who 's allowed to. " 


The one-room log school- 
house at Little Greenbrier, 
like the somewhat larger 
Granny s College at Big 
Greenbrier, provided the bas- 
ics in reading, writing, and 

And judging by the smiles of 
Margaret Tallent and Conley 
Russell, the place was lots of 

Herman Matthews conducts 
a class in the school's last year 
of operation, 1935. He was 
the only teacher who had 
completed college. 

Emergencies of health and sickness affected the 
daily routines. ''Doctor-medicine" might have its 
place, but home remedies were considered most 
reliable — and available. A doctor with his saddlebag 
of pills and tonics might be a day's ride or more away 
from the patient. But nature's medicine chest lay 
almost at the doorstep. Plants in swamp and m.eadow, 
leaves and bark and roots of the forest: all healed 
many ailments. From ancient Cherokee wisdom and 
through their own observations and testing, moun- 
tain people learned the uses of boneset, black 
cohosh, wild cherry, mullein, catnip, balm of gilead, 
Solomons-seal, sassafras, and dozens of other herbs 
and plants. 

While they found one school and laboratory in the 
woods and hills around them, the people of the 
Great Smoky Mountains also worked to provide 
themselves with more orthodox classrooms. Continu- 
ing customs that had begun before the War, the 
residents of many little communities ''made-up" a 
school. This meant that they banded together, and 
each contributed to a small fund to pay a teacher's 
salary for the year. The "year" was usually three 
months. John Preston Arthur left a vivid memoir of 
his experience in one of these so-called "old-field" 
schools, which were located on land no longer under 

"In lieu of kindergarten, graded and normal schools 
was the Old-Field school of which there were gener- 
ally only one or two in a county, and they were in 
session only when it was not 'croptime. ' They were 
attended by little and big, old and young, sometimes 
by as many as a hundred, and all jammed into one 
room — a log cabin with a fireplace at each end— 
puncheon floor, slab benches, and no windows, ex- 
cept an opening made in the wall by cutting out a 
section of one of the logs, here and there. The peda- 
gogue in charge (and no matter how large the school 
there was but one) prided himself upon his knowl- 
edge of and efficiency in teaching the three R's— 
readin ' 'ritin 'and 'rithmetic — and upon his ability to 
use effectively the rod, of which a good supply was 
always kept in stock. He must know, too, how to 
make a quill pen from the wing-feather of a goose or 
a turkey, steel and gold pens not having come into 
general use. The ink used was made from 'ink-balls' 
—sometimes from poke-berries — and was kept in 


Edoudrd E Exiine 


little slim vials partly filled with cotton. These vials, 
not having base enough to stand alone, were sus- 
pended on nails near the writer. The schools were 
paid from a public fund, the teacher boarding with 
the scholars. " 

During the latter 1800s, free schools began to re- 
place subscription schools. But the quality and meth- 
ods of education did not appear to change drastically. 
Across the Smokies, in East Tennessee's Big Green- 
brier Cove, Granny's College provided the rudiments 
of public education for many students and was an 
example of similar schools in the Great Smokies 
region. Lillie Whaley Ownby remembered the house 
which was turned into a school: 
^'Granny College was built before the Civil War by 
Humphy John Ownby. This house was two big log 
houses, joined together by a huge rock chimney and 
a porch across both rooms on both sides of the 
house. The houses were built of big poplar logs. The 
rooms were 18x20 feet and both rooms had two 
doors and two windows. The floor was rough, hewn 
logs. There was a huge fireplace in it. The living 
room had a partition just behind the doors and a 
cellar about 8x10 feet. " 

After Mrs. Ownby's father had acquired the old 
log building, he went to Sevierville, the county seat, 
and proposed to the school superintendent that he 
would furnish this house if the county would supply 
a teacher for Big Greenbrier children. This was 
agreeable, and Granny's College, as it was locally 
known, came into being. 

"The men made benches, long enough for three or 
four to sit on. The back was nailed up on some 
blocks and the children used the wall for a back rest. 
There was no place for books except on the benches 
or floor. Dad furnished wood for the fire. The boys 
carried it in and kept the fire going. Everyone helped 
in keeping the house clean and keeping water in the 
house. " 

Church as well as school was a personalized part 
of family and community life in a way not known in 
more formal, urban situations. Each fulfilled not 
only its own specific function, spiritual or intellec- 
tual, but also satisfied social needs. The doctrine was 
strictly fundamentalist; the dominant denominations 
were Baptist and Methodist, although the Presbyte- 
rian influence was also present, especially in the 


schools that were founded with both money and 
eachers drawn from other regions of the country. 

Each summer, Methodist camp meetings brought 
families together under the long brush arbors for 
weeks of sociable conversation and soulful conver- 
sion. The visiting ministers' feast of oratory was 
matched only by the feast of victuals prepared by 
housewives over the campfires as they cooked and 
exchanged family news, quilt patterns, recipes, and 
"cuttings" from favorite flowers and shrubs. 

Baptists were the most numerous denomination. 
They divided themselves into many categories, 
among others the Primitives, the Freewills, the Mis- 
sionaries, and one small group called the Two-Seed- 
in-the-Spirit. Their rules were strict: no violins in 
church, no dancing anywhere. To be "churched," or 
turned out of the congregation, was heavy punish- 
ment—and not infrequent. 

One aspect of church that incorporated an impor- 
tant feature of mountain life was its singing. In 
ancient Ireland and Wales songsters had been accom- 
panied on the harp. Settlers had brought the Old 
Harp song book of early hymns and anthems with 
them from the British Isles, and on down the valleys 
and across the mountains into these remote byways. 
The notes of this music were not round but shaped, 
and shape, rather than placement on a staff, indi- 
cated the note. This method simplified reading the 
music; and as the unaccompanied, usually untrained, 
singers took their pitch from a leader, they pro- 
ceeded in beautiful harmony, usually in a minor key. 

The mournful sound of minor chords was also 
familiar in the ballads common throughout the hills. 
Death and unrequited love were their recurring 
themes, whether they reached back to England and 
the Scottish borders, as in "Lord Thomas and Fair 
Elender," or recounted some local contemporary 
affair. Beside their blazing hearths during long, lonely 
winter evenings, or at jolly gatherings or through 
lazy summer Saturday afternoons, mountain people 
remembered the past and recorded the present as 
they sang, altering and adding to the ballads which 
had been taught to them and which in turn would be 
handed on to another generation. 

And among those visitors who would begin to 
search the mountains during the approaching 20th 
century, the folk song collectors and the ballad seek- 

Pages cV<y-(V9; Butchering was 
a chore shared by nearly 
everyone in a family. Here, 
the Ogles — Eari Horace, 
Collie, and Willard— butcher 
a hog as they get ready for a 
long winter. 

National Park Service 




ers could find here a repository of rare, pure music — 
nuch of it now forgotten even in its own homeland. 
The visitors would find a way of life that might seem 
static but which was, indeed, changing. For the early 
pioneers had yielded to the authentic mountaineer. 
His log cabin was being replaced by sash-sawn lum- 
ber in a frame house. Extensive apple orchards and 
corn crops yielded the basic ingredients not only for 
fruit and bread but for the luxuries of a brandy and 
whisky known also as moonshine, white lightning. 
Old Tanglefoot. 

Hunting and fishing, which had been necessities 
for the first setders, eventually turned into sport as 
well. Buffalo, elk, wolves, beavers, passenger pig- 
eons, and a variety of other game disappeared early 
and forever, leaving only the memory of their pres- 
ence in names like Buffalo Creek, Elk Mountain, 
Wolf Creek, Beaverdam Valley, Pigeon River. But 
deer, black bear, fox, raccoon and other animals 
remained to challenge the mountain man and his 
dogs. The relationship between a hunter and his 
hounds was something special. A dog shot or stolen 
could be cause for a lifelong feud. Names of individ- 
ual dogs— Old Blue, Tige, Big Red — were cherished 
by their owners, as were certain breeds. The Plott 
dogs, named after the bear hunters who bred them in 
Haywood County's Balsam range, were famous for 
their tenacity and strength in hunting bear. 

One of the sharpest condemnations that could be 
laid on a mountain man concerned the hunting dogs. 
An early resident of Roaring Fork above Gatlinburg 
was a "hard, cruel man," despised by his neighbors 
and in turn despising them. He had frightened chil- 
dren and cut a fellow "till he like to bled to death." 
Finally— and most devastatingly — it was agreed that 
"he was the type of fellow that would pizen your 

Livestock raising was important throughout the 
Great Smoky Mountains. Stock laws had not yet 
been passed, and rail fences were built to keep cattle, 
horses, hogs, or sheep out of gardens, fields, and 
yards rather than in pastures, pens, and feedlots. 
Animals roamed the fields and woods. Hogs fattened 
themselves on the mast of nuts and roots from the 
great chestnut, oak, and hickory forests; cattle 
grazed on the grassy balds in summertime. By mid- 
May, farmers in the coves and valleys had driven 

Edouard E Exiine 

In the mountains you had 
to work hard at bein^ self- 
sufficient. And some men did 
better than others. One such 
man was Milas Messer of 
Cove Creek. Setting barrel 
staves to the hoop takes a 
bit of coordination, but 
Messer makes it look easy. 

Three children look on as he 
works at his shaving horse on 
a stave. His coopering equip- 
ment includes a draw knife, 
crow cutter, jointing plane, 
stave gauge, and barrel adze. 

At his blacksmith shop Me.sser 
shapes a small metal piece, 
one of many he turned out 
just to keep his farm running. 

Here is Messer the tanner, 
scrubbing the pelt side of a 
hide with a scythe blade af- 
ter taking it out of the vat and 
removing the spent bark with 
a long-handled strainer. 


Charles S Grossman 

Salt licks are among the few 
remaining pieces of evidence 
of the great herding activity 
that once flourished in the 
Smokies. Notches were cut 
into logs or chiseled into 
rocks so the salt wouldn 't be 
wasted as it would be if plac- 
ed on the ground. The salt 
was good for the cattle, and 
the regularity of the proce- 
dure helped to keep them 
from becoming completely 

their cattle into the high places of the Smokies. Once 
every three weeks or so thereafter, they returned to 
salt and "gentle" them, thus keeping them familiar 
with their owners. In October, before the first 
snowfall, the cattle were rounded up. If the season 
had been good, livestock drives to near or distant 
markets began. 

During both the roundup and the drive, livestock 
marks played a critical role of identification. These 
were devised by each farmer— and acknowledged by 
his neighbors— as the "brand'' signifying ownership. 
These might be various "crops," "knicks," and 
"notches:" an "underbit" (a crop out of the under 
part of the ear), or a "topbit," or a "swallow-fork" cut 
in the skin below the neck, or a combination of them 
all. If several kinds of animals were included on a 
livestock drive, there was a setded rule of procedure. 
Cattle led the way, followed by sheep, then hogs, 
and finally turkeys, which were usually the first to 
start peering toward the sky and searching for the 
night's resting place. 

All of these plodding, grunting, gobbling creatures 
were kept in order with the help of one or two good 
dogs. If a hunter's dogs were valuable, a livestock 
drover's dogs were invaluable. "Head'em," the dro- 
ver called, and his dogs brought recalcitrant animals 
into line, nipping the slow to hurry and curious to 
remain orderly. 

During a long day's drive to the county seat, or a 
several weeks' journey to the lowlands of the Caroli- 
nas or Georgia, men and beasts surged forward in a 
turmoil of shouting and noise, dust and mud, 
autumn's lingering heat and sudden chills. But on 
these journeys, the men left their small mountain 
enclaves for a brief glimpse of the larger world. They 
returned home not only with bolts of cloth and win- 
ter supplies of salt and coffee, but also with news and 
fresh experiences. 

And accounts of these experiences were related in 
a language that was part of the mountaineer's unique 
heritage. That language revealed a great deal about 
the people; it was strong and flexible, old yet capa- 
ble of change, sometimes judged "ungrammatical" 
but often touched with poetry. In a later century, 
students and collectors would come here seeking the 
Elizabethan words, the rhythmic cadences of this 
speech. It barkened back to a distant homeland. 


The mountain person's "afeard" for afraid, or 
"poke" for paper bag, were familiar to Shakespeare. 
In Chaucer could be found the mountaineer's use of 
"holpt" for helped, and such plurals as ''nestes" and 
"waspes.'" Webster confirmed that "hit" was Saxon 
for it, and the primary meaning of "plague" was 
anything troublesome or vexatious (the mountain 
man might well say someone was plaguing him). The 
habit of turning a noun into a verb often added 
strength to an otherwise dull sentence: "My farm 
will grow enough corn to bread us through the 
winter," or, when speaking of the heavy shoes that 
were brogans, "Those hunters just brogued it through 
the rough places." 

The daily poetry and humor of the mountain lan- 
guage was caught in the names of places— Pretty 
Hollow Gap, Charlie's Bunion, Fittified Spring, Miry 
Ridge, Bone Valley— and in descriptive words like 
"hells" and "slicks" for the tangled laurel and rhodo- 
dendron thickets. It was present in the familiar names 
of plants: "hearts-a-bustin'-with-love," "dog-hobble," 
"farewell summer." And the patterns of their quilts, 
pieced with artistic patience and skill, bore names 
such as "tree of life," "Bonaparte's March," and 
"double wedding ring." 

Thus, the mountain people adapted their language, 
as they had their lives, to the needs and beauty of 
this land they called home. And contrary to what 
might seem the case, these later residents were a 
more nearly distinctive group than that which had 
first come. The pioneers had been a fairly heteroge- 
neous group, but as the years passed, those with 
itching feet and yearning minds moved on to other 
frontiers. Restless children wandered west in search 
of instant gold and eternal youth. In time, those 
remaining behind became a more and more cohesive 
group, sharing a particular challenge, history, 
folklore, economy, dream. Their lives were gradu- 
ally improving. They had earned the privilege and 
joy of calling this their homeland. 


Spinning and Weaving 

Like Homer s Penelope, like 
the Biblical spinners and 
weavers, like their sisters at 
the wheel and loom in many 
times and places, women of 
the Great Smokies simultane 
ouslv fulfilled the need for 

sturdy cloth and a need for 
creatine esthetic designs an 

to preserve 
melon's hand 

irdlv any other subiecl 

I circle oi 
mountain women as does the 




)nal Park S 






le talk are 

their kkisfoHs- Such work has 

expression, ana everyor.., ... 
least in the days of which I 
am telling, knew something 
by experience or by watching 
the work or by hearsay and 
tradition, of this fine craft. 
... In the younger women 
who were learning to weave 
and keeping at it, I could see 
the growth of character. A 
slack twisted person cannot 

Irwke a success as a weaver 
of coverlets. Patience and 
perseverance are of the first 
necessity, and the exercise of 
these strengthen the fibers of 

the soul One who has had 

to do with hundreds of moun- 

never did she find one to be 
of weak and flabby characte 
whose mother was a weaver: 
there was always something 

Turning animal and vegeta- 
ble fibers into cloth necessi- 
tated several steps. The fibers 
had to be washed and then 
carded, or straightened, with 


Then the women combed 
the carded fibers and rolled 
them onto a rod called a 
distaff, hence the distaff side 
of the family. In the next 
step. Aunt Rhodie Abbott 
(below) stretches, twists, a 
winds the fibers with a spi 
ing wheel in Cades Cove. 
The women then dyed some 
of the yarn. In the last step, 
Becky Oakley (left) weaves 
the yarn into cloth on a loom. 
Then the women had to turn 
the cloth into clothes and 



i^:': '-' 


The Sawmills Move In 

\ people and their style of life do not change drasti- 
cally in one year or two years or three. The year 
1900, then, does not define a time when thousands 
living in rhe Great Smokies suddenly abandoned 
their 19th-century ways and traditions and bounded 
into the modern world. Real transition would come 
only with the upheavals of the succeeding decades, 
only as a result of America's industrialization and 
two world wars and the arrival of a national park. 
Yet the beginning of a new century did inject one 
major new element into the lifestream of the Great 
Smoky Mountains: the lumber companies and their 

The people who lived here had logged before. A 
man might operate a family enterprise along some 
hillside or in a low-lying cove, using a few strong- 
armed relatives or neighbors to help cut and move 
the choicest timber of the forest. Andy Huff, for 
example, established a small sawmill in Greenbrier 
Cove in 1898. Leander Whaley had cut yellow- 
poplar, buckeye, and linden from the upper cove — 
along Ramsey Prong— during the 1880s. These and a 
few other individual loggers felled the largest and 
most accessible of ultra-valuable woods such as 
cherry, ash, walnut, hickory, and the giant yellow- 
poplar, or ''tulip tree." They used steady, slow- 
plodding oxen to drag the heavy logs to mill, then 
hauled the lumber to markets and railroads in stout- 
bedded wagons drawn by four mules, double-teamed. 

But the virgin timber soon attracted a wider 
attention. In 1901, a report on the Southern Appala- 
chians from President Theodore Roosevelt to Con- 
gress concluded simply that "These are the heaviest 
and most beautiful hard-wood forests of the conti- 
nent.'' Of the Great Smokies in particular, the report 
noted that besides the hardwoods the forest con- 
tained "the finest and largest bodies of spruce in the 
Southern Appalachians." Lumber entrepreneurs 
were equally impressed. In that same year, three 
partners paid about $9.70 per hectare for the 34,400- 
hectare ($3/85,000-acre) bulk of the Little River wa- 
tershed. Some 20 years later. Col. W. B. Townsend 
moved from Pennsylvania and took control of Little 
River Lumber Company. 

On the North Carolina slopes of the Smokies, 
companies purchased land in swaths stretching from 
ridge to ridge, staking off watersheds like so many 

In some places the Little 
River Lumber Company, and 
other log^in^ firms, sent logs 
cascading down the moun- 
tain sides in intricately con- 
structed chutes. 

Little River Lumber Company 


claims. In 1903, W. M. Ritter Lumber Company set 
up its operations along Hazel Creek. A year later, 
Montvale Lumber Company moved into the adja- 
cent Eagle Creek area. To the west of Montvale 
would, in time, lie the Kitchin mill and its Twentymile 
Creek domain; to the east of Ritter, Norwood Lum- 
ber Company embraced the reaches of Forney 
Creek. And looming beside and above them all stood 
the 36,400 timbered hectares (90,000 acres) of the 
Champion Coated Paper Company, an area that in- 
cluded Deep Creek and Greenbrier Cove and the 
headwaters of the Oconaluftee River. 

The companies needed men to cut the trees, skid 
the logs, work the animals, saw the lumber, lay the 
roads. They called upon the mountaineers who still 
owned small tracts in Cades Cove and Cataloochee 
and lower Greenbrier and throughout the Smokies; 
or they allowed some workers who had sold forested 
land to stay in their homes, though now on company 
property; or they brought in hired hands from out- 
side and housed them and their families in dormitory- 
like buildings and readymade ''towns.'' These 
mushrooming mill villages— Elkmont on the Little 
River, Crestmont on Big Creek, Proctor on Hazel 
Creek, Ravensford and Smokemont and Fontana— 
provided a booming cash market for homegrown 
food and, as soon as the money changed hands, 
imported products. 

More often than not, residents of the Great Smoky 
Mountains drove to and from market in covered 
wagons that protected their goods. Because the drive 
to an outside market such as Waynesville, Newport, 
or Maryville might take two or even three days, local 
families sold what they could to the loggers and 
sawmill men. They set up honey and apple stands 
along the roads and offered grapes in season. They 
supplied stores with butter and eggs. Children could 
trade in one egg for a week's supply of candy or 

A businesslike atmosphere filtered through the 
quiet of the Smokies. Though wolves and panthers 
had largely disappeared by 1910, fur buyers and 
community traders enjoyed a brisk exchange in 
mink, raccoon, fox, and 'possum hides. Oak bark 
and chestnut wood, called "tanbark" and "acid 
wood" because they were sources of valuable tannic 
acid, brought $7 per cord when shipped to Asheville 


cr Knoxville. As the sawmills flourished, makeshift 
'cox houses of vertical poplar and chestnut planks 
gave way to more substantial weatherboarded homes 
of horizontal lengths and tight-fitting frames. Slick, 
fancy, buggy-riding ''drummers" peddled high-button 
shoes and off-color stories. The spacious Wonderland 
Park Hotel and the Appalachian Club at Elkmont, 
and a hunting lodge on Jake's Creek graced the once 
forbidding mountainsides. 

Undergirding this development was a growing cash 
base: peaches and chestnuts, pork and venison, wax 
and lard — translated into money— brought flour and 
sugar, yarn and needles, tools and ammunition. Yet 
in the midst of this new-found activity, many clung 
to their old habits. Children still found playtime fun 
by sliding down hills of pine needles and ''riding'' 
poplar saplings from treetop to treetop. Hard-shell 
Baptist preachers, such as the hunter and "wilderness 
saddle-bagger" known as "Preacher John" Stinnett, 
still devoted long spare hours, and sometimes work- 
days as well, to reading The Book: "I just toted my 
Bible in a tow sack at the handle of my bull tongue 
and I studied it at the turn of the furrow and consid- 
ered it through the rows." 

But whatever the immediate considerations of the 
hour happened to be, logging was the order of the 
day. From the Big Pigeon River, all the way to the 
Little Tennessee, the second generation of timber- 
cutters had moved into the Smokies on a grand 

The companies, with their manpower, their strate- 
gically placed sawmills, and their sophisticated 
equipment, produced board feet of lum.ber by the 
millions. The rest of the country, with its increased 
demands for paper and residential construction, ab- 
sorbed these millions and cried for more. By 1909, 
when production attained its peak in the Smokies 
and throughout the Appalachians, logging techniques 
had reached such an advanced state that even re- 
mote stands of spruce and hemlock could be worked 
with relative ease. Demand continued unabated and 
even received a slight boost when World War I broke 
out in 1914. 

High volume covered high costs. The Little River 
Lumber Company, perhaps the most elaborate log- 
ging operation in the Smokies, cut a total of two 
million board feet. Cherry, the most valuable of the 

Pa^es 100-101: Sawmills, such 
as this one at Lawson 's Su^ar 
Cove, were quickly set up in 
one location and just as 
quickly moved to another as 
soon as the plot was cleared. 

National Park Service 


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;i % *'^-^!- 


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woods, with its exquisite grain and rich color, was 
also the scarcest. Yellow-poplar, that tall, straight 
tree with a buoyancy that allowed it to float high, 
turned out to be the most profitable of all saw timber. 
Coniferous forests, the thick, dark regions of pun- 
gent spruce and hemlock, yielded a portion of the 
company's output. 

Extraction of such proportions was not easy. Tim- 
ber cruisers combed the forests, estimating board 
feet and ax-marking suitable trees. Three-man saw 
teams followed the cruisers. One, the "chipper," cal- 
culated the fall of the tree and cut a "lead" in the 
appropriate side. Two sawyers then took over, 
straining back and forth upon their crosscut saw 
until gravity and the immense weight of the tree 
finished their job for them. The work was hard and 
hazardous. Sometimes, if the lead were not cut 
properly, the trunk would fall toward the men; sud- 
den death or permanent injury might result from the 
kickback of a doomed tree's final crash, or from a 
moment's carelessness. 

To remove the felled timber, larger companies 
laid railroad tracks far up the creeks from their mills. 
At the eastern edge of the Smokies, for instance, one 
such terminus grew into the village of Crestmont, 
which boasted a hotel, two movie theaters, and a 
well-stocked commissary. Such accommodations 
seemed a distant cry indeed from the upper branches 
of Big Creek, gathering its waters along the slopes of 
Mt. Sterling, Mt. Cammerer, and Mt. Guyot. 
Workers from improbable distances— even countries 
"across the waters," such as Italy— teamed with the 
mountain people to push a standard gauge track 
alongside the boulder-strewn streams. Bolted onto 
oaken ties that were spaced far enough apart to 
discourage foot travel, the black rails drove ahead, 
switched back to higher ground, crossed Big Creek a 
dozen times before they reached the flat way station 
of Walnut Bottoms. 

Dominated by powerful, blunt-bodied locomotives, 
the railroads gave rise to stories that were a flavorful 
blend of pathos and danger. "Daddy" Bryson and a 
fireman named Forrester were killed on a sharp 
curve along Jake's Creek of Little River. Although 
Forrester jumped clear when the brakes failed to 
hold, he was buried under an avalanche of deadly, 
cascading logs. There were moments of comedy as 


well as tragedy. In the same river basin, Colonel 
Ibwnsend asked engineer Noah Bunyan Whitehead 
one day when he was going to stop putting up all that 
black smoKe from his train. Bun answered: "When 
they start making white coal.'' 

Railroads could reach only so far, however. The 
most complex phase of the logging process was 
"skidding," or bringing the felled logs from inaccessi- 
ble distances to the waiting cars. As the first step, 
men armed with cant hooks or short, harpoon-like 
peavies, simply rolled the logs down the mountain- 
sides. Such continuous "ball-hooting," as it was 
called, gouged paths which rain and snow etched 
deeper into scars of heavy erosion. Sometimes oxen 
and mules pulled, or "snaked," the timber through 
rough terrain to its flatcar destination. Horses soon 
replaced the slower animals and proved especially 
adept at "jayhooking," or dragging logs down steep 
slopes by means of J-hooks and grabs. When the logs 
gained speed and threatened to overtake them, the 
men and nimble-footed horses simply stepped onto a 
spur trail; the open link slipped off at the J-hook and 
the logs slid on down the slope under their own 

Even more ingenious skidding methods were 
devised. Splash-dams of vertical hemlock boards cre- 
ated reservoirs on otherwise shallow, narrow streams. 
The released reservoir, when combined with heavy 
rains, could carry a large amount of timber far 
downstream. In the mill pond, loggers with hobnailed 
boots kept the logs moving and uncorked occasional 
jams. Another method devised to move virgin timber 
down steep slopes was the trestled flume. The large, 
wooden graded flumes provided a rapid but expen- 
sive mode of delivery. One carried spruce off 
Clingmans Dome. 

There were, finally, the loader and skidders. The 
railroad-mounted steam loader was nicknamed the 
"Sarah Parker" after "a lady who must have been 
real strong." The skidder's revolving drum pulled in 
logs by spectacular overhead cables. Loaded with 
massive timber lengths, these cables spanned valleys 
and retrieved logs from the very mountaintops. 

To coordinate all of these operations efficiently 
required skill and judgment. The lumber companies 
devised numerous approaches to the problem of 
maximum production at lowest cost. They con- 

Little River Lumber Company 

Massive steam-powered skid- 
ders pulled logs in off the 
hills to a central pile. Then 
the loaders took over and 
put the logs on trains, which 
carried them to the mills. 


Maiional Park Service 


tracted with individuals; Andy Huff, for example, 
continued to run a mill at the mouth of Roaring Fork 
and paid his men a full 75 cents for a 16-hour day. 
The corporations sometimes worked together; in 
one maneuver, Litde River helped Champion flume 
its spruce pulpwood to the Little River railroad for 
shipment to Champion's paper mill at Canton, North 
Carolina. Haste and carelessness could lead to shock- 
ing waste. When one company moved its operations 
during World War I, 1.5 million board feet of newly 
cut timber was left to rot at the head of Big Creek. 

The ravages of logging led to fires. Although fires 
were sometimes set on purpose to kill snakes and 
insects and to burn underbrush, abnormal condi- 
tions invited abnormal mishaps. Parched soil no 
longer held in place by a web of living roots, dry tops 
of trees piled where they had been flung after trim- 
ming the logs, and flaming sparks of locomotives or 
skidders; any combination of these caused more than 
20 disastrous fires in the Smokies during the 1920s. A 
two-month series of fires devastated parts of 
Clingmans Dome, Siler's Bald, and Mt. Guyot. One 
holocaust on Forney Creek, ignited by an engine 
spark, raced through the tops of 24-meter (80-foot) 
hemlocks and surged over 5 kilometers (3 miles) in 
four hours. A site of most intense destruction was in 
the Sawtooth range of the Charlie's Bunion area. 

Despite the ravages of fire, erosion, and the vora- 
cious ax and saw, all was not lost. Some two-thirds of 
the Great Smoky Mountains was heavily logged or 
burned, but pockets of virgin timber remained in a 
shrinking number of isolated spots and patches at 
the head of Cataloochee, the head of Greenbrier, 
and much of Cosby and Deep Creek. And as the 
1920s passed into another decade, the vision of sav- 
ing what was left of this virgin forest, saving the 
land — saving the homeland— grew in the lonely but 
insistent conscience of a small number of concerned 
and convincing citizens. 

George Washington Shults 
and some neighbors snake 
out large trunks with the help 
of six oxen. Sometimes the 
lumber companies would hire 
such local people to handle 
a specific part of the opera- 
tion. Today we call the proc- 
ess subcontracting. 

Of the many kinds of trees 
logged in the Great Smokies, 
the largest and most profita- 
ble were the yellow-poplars, 
more commonly known as tu- 
lip trees. A man could feel 
pretty small standing next to 
one of them. 

The great scale of the log- 
ging machinery was like no- 
thing the Smokies had seen 
before. Long trains carried 
loads of huge tree trunks to 
sawmills after the flat cars 
were loaded by railroad- 
mounted cranes. 


Birth of a Park 

logging dominated the life of the Great Smoky 
Mountains during the early decades of the 20th 
century. But there was another side to that Hfe. 
Apart from the sawmills and the railroads and the 
general stores, which were bustling harbingers of 
new ways a-coming, the higher forests, the foot trails, 
and the moonshine stills remained as tokens of old 
ways a-lingering. One person in particular came to 
know and speak for this more primitive world. 

Horace Kephart was born in 1862 in East Salem, 
Pennsylvania. His Swiss ancestors were pioneers of 
the Pennsylvania frontier. During his childhood, 
Kephart's family moved to the Iowa prairie, where 
his mother gave him a copy of the novel Robinson 
Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. In the absence of play- 
mates on the vast Midwest grassland, young Kephart 
dreamed and invented his own games, fashioned his 
own play swords and pistols out of wood and even 
built a cave out of prairie sod and filled it with 
''booty" collected off the surrounding countryside. 

Horace Kephart never forgot his frontier begin- 
nings. He saved his copy of Robinson Crusoe and 
added others: The Wild Foods of Great Britain, The 
Secrets of Polar Travel, Theodore Roosevelt's The 
Winning of the West. Camping and outdoor cooking, 
ballistics and photography captured his attention and 
careful study. 

Kephart polished his education with periods of 
learning and Hbrary work at Boston University, 
Cornell, and Yale. In 1887 he married a girl from 
Ithaca, New York, and began to raise a family. By 
1890, he was librarian of the well-known St. Louis 
Mercantile Library. In his late thirties, Kephart grew 
into a quiet, intense loner, a shy and reticent man 
with dark, piercing eyes. He remained an explorer at 
heart, a pioneer, an individual secretly nurturing the 
hope of further adventures. 

Opportunity arrived in a strange disguise. Horace 
Kephart's largely unfulfilled visions of escape were 
combined with increasingly prolonged periods of 
drinking. Experience with a tornado in the streets of 
St. Louis affected his nerves. As he later recalled: 
". . . then came catastrophe: my health broke down. 
In the summer of 1904, finding that I must abandon 
professional work and city life, I came to western 
North Carolina, looking for a big primitive forest 
where I could build up strength anew and indulge 

George A Grant 

Conducting a preliminary 
survey of (he park 's bounda- 
ries in 1931 are (from left) 
Superintendent f Ross Eakin, 
Arthur P. Miller, Charles E. 
Peterson, O. G. Taylor, and 
John Needham. 


George Masa 

Horace Kephart, librarian- 
turned-mountaineer, won the 
hearts of the Smokies people 
with his quiet and unassum- 
ing ways. He played a major 
role in the initial movement 
for a national park. 

my lifelong fondness for hunting, fishing and explor- 
ing new ground. " 

He chose the Great Smokies almost by accident. 
Using maps and a compass while he rested at his 
father's home in Dayton, Ohio, he located the near- 
est wilderness and then determined the most remote 
corner of that wilderness. After his recuperation he 
traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, where he took 
a railroad line that wound through a honeycomb of 
hills to the small way station of Dillsboro. And from 
there, at the age of 42, he struck out, with a gun and 
a fishing rod and three days' rations, for the virgin 
mountainside forest. After camping for a time on 
Dick's Creek, his eventual wild destination turned 
out to be a deserted log cabin on the Little Fork of 
the Sugar Fork of Hazel Creek. 

His nearest neighbors lived 3 kilometers (2 miles) 
away, in the equally isolated settlement of Medlin. 
Medlin consisted of a post office, a corn mill, two 
stores, four dwellings, and a nearby schoolhouse that 
doubled as a church. The 42 households that offi- 
cially collected their mail at the Medlin Post Office 
inhabited an area of 42 square kilometers (16 square 
miles). It was, as Kephart describes it: 
". . . the forest primeval, where roamed some sparse 
herds of cattle, razorback hogs and the wild beasts. 
Speckled trout were in all the streams. Bears some- 
times raided the fields and wildcats were a common 
nuisance. Our settlement was a mere slash in the vast 
woodland that encompassed it. " 

But it was also, for Horace Kephart, a new and 
invigorating home. He loved it. He thrived in it. At 
first he concentrated his senses on the natural beauty 
around him, on the purple rhododendron, the flame 
azalea, the fringed orchis, the crystal clear streams. 
Yet as the months passed, he found that he could not 
overlook the people. 

The mountain people were as solidly a part of the 
Smokies as the boulders themselves. These residents 
of branch and cove, of Medlin and Proctor and all 
the other tiny setdements tucked high along the 
slanting creekbeds of the Great Smoky Mountains, 
these distinctive ''back of beyond" hillside farmers 
and work-worn wives and wary moonshine distillers 
lodged in Kephart's consciousness and imagination 
with rock-like strength and endurance. 

Initially silent and suspicious of this stranger in 


rheir midst, families gradually came to accept him. 
f^hey approved of his quietness and his even-handed 
ways, even confiding in him with a simple eloquence. 
One foot-weary distiller, after leading Kephart over 
kilomeiers of rugged terrain, concluded: "Every- 
where you go, it's climb, scramble, clamber down, 
and climb again. You cain't go nowheres in this 
country without climbin' both ways." The head of a 
large family embracing children who spilled forth 
from every corner of the cabin confessed: "We're so 
poor, if free silver was shipped in by the carload we 
couldn't pay the freight." 

Kephart came to respect and to wonder at these 
neighbors who combined a lack of formal education 
with a fullness of informal ability. Like him, many of 
their personal characters blended a weakness for 
Uquor with a strong sense of individual etiquette. He 
heard, for example, the story of an overnight visitor 
who laid his loaded gun under his pillow; when he 
awoke the next morning, the pistol was where he had 
left it, but the cartridges stood in a row on a nearby 

He met one George Brooks of Medlin: farmer, 
teamster, storekeeper, veterinarian, magistrate, 
dentist. While Brooks did own a set of toothpullers 
and wielded them mercilessly, some individuals prac- 
ticed the painful art of tooth-jumping to achieve the 
same result. Uncle Neddy Carter even tried to jump 
one of his own teeth; he cut around the gum, wedged 
a nail in, and made ready to strike the nail with a 
hammer, but he missed the nail and mashed his nose 

None of these fascinating tales escaped the atten- 
tion of Horace Kephart. As he regained his health, 
the sustained energy of his probing mind also 
returned. Keeping a detailed journal of his expe- 
riences, he drove himself as he had done in the past. 
He developed almost an obsession to record all that 
he learned, to know this place and people completely, 
to stop time for an interval and capture this moun- 
tain way of life in his mind and memory. For three 
years he lived by the side of Hazel Creek. Though he 
later moved down to Bryson City during the winters, 
he spent most of his summers 13 kilometers (8 miles) 
up Deep Creek at an old cabin that marked the 
original Bryson Place. 

Kephart distilled much of what he learned into a 


Wiley Oakley, his wife, and 
children gather on the porch 
of their Scratch Britches home 
at Cherokee Orchard with 
"Minnehaha. "Oakley always 
said, "I have two women: one 
I talk to and one who talks to 
me. " 

Oakley was a park guide be- 
fore there was a park. And 
in that role he nearly always 
wore a red plaid shirt. He 
developed friendships with 
Henry Ford and John D. 
Rockefeller and became 
known as the "Will Rogers of 
the Smokies. " 

series of books. The Book of Camping and 
Woodcraft appeared in 1906 as one of the first de- 
tailed guidebooks to woodsmanship, first aid, and 
the art we now call "backpacking," all based on his 
personal experience and knowledge. There is even a 
chapter on tanning pelts. But the most authoritative 
book concerned the people themselves. Our South- 
ern Highlanders, published in 1913 and revised nine 
years later, faithfully retraces Kephart's life among 
the Appalachian mountain folk after he "left the 
tame West and came into this wild East." And para- 
mount among the wilds of the East was the alluring 
saga of the moonshiner. 

In Horace Kephart's own eyes, his greatest educa- 
tion came from the spirited breed of mountain man 
known as "blockade runners" or simply "blockaders." 
These descendants of hard-drinking Scotsmen and 
Irishmen had always liked to "still" a little corn 
whisky to drink and, on occasion, to sell. But as the 
1920s opened into the era of Prohibition, the moun- 
tain distiller of a now contraband product reached 
his heyday. He found and began to supply an 
expanding, and increasingly thirsty market. 

Stealth became the keynote in this flourishing 
industry. Mountaineers searched out laurel-strangled 
hollows and streams that seemed remote even to 
their keen eyes. There they assembled the copper 
stills into which they poured a fermented concoction 
of cornmeal, rye, and yeast known as "sour mash" or 
"beer." By twice heating the beer and condensing its 
vapors through a water-cooled "worm" or spiral tube, 
they could approximate the uncolored liquor en- 
joyed at the finest New York parties. And by 
defending themselves with shotguns rather than with 
words, they could continue their approximations. 

In this uniquely romantic business, colorful char- 
acters abounded on both sides of the law. Horace 
Kephart wrote about a particular pair of men who 
represented the two legal extremes: the famous 
moonshiner Aquilla Rose, and the equally resilient 
revenuer from the Internal Revenue Service, W. W. 

Aquilla, or "Quill," Rose lived for 25 years at the 
head of sparsely populated Eagle Creek. After kill- 
ing a man in self-defense and hiding out in Texas 
awhile, Rose returned to the Smokies with his wife 
and settled so far up Eagle Creek that he crowded 


Laura Thornborough 


Aquilla Rose stands proudly 
with his mowing machine 
outside his home near Eagle 
Creek. He didn 't stand that 
still when revenuers came 

the Tennessee-North CaroHna state Hne. Quill made 
whisky by the barrel and seemed to drink it the same 
way, although he was occasionally seen playing his 
fiddle or sitting on the porch with his long beard 
flowing and his Winchester resting across his lap. His 
eleventh Commandment, to "never get ketched," 
was faithfully observed, and Quill Rose remained 
one of the few mountain blockaders to successfully 
combine a peaceable existence at home with a dan- 
gerous livelihood up the creek. 

W.W. Thomason visited Horace Kephart at Bryson 
City in 1919. Kephart accepted this "sturdy, dark- 
eyed stranger'' as simply a tourist interested in the 
moonshining art. While Thomason professed inno- 
cence, his real purpose in the Smokies was to de- 
stroy stills which settlers were operating on Chero- 
kee lands to evade the local law. He prepared for the 
job by taking three days to carve and paint a lifelike 
rattlesnake onto a thick sourwood club. During the 
following weeks, he would startle many a moon- 
shiner by thrusting the stick close and twisting it 

When Kephart led the "Snake-Stick Man" into 
whiskyed coves in the Sugarlands or above the 
Cherokee reservation, he found himself deputized 
and a participant in the ensuing encounters. More 
often than not, shots rang out above the secluded 
thickets. In one of these shootouts, Thomason's 
hatband, solidly woven out of hundreds of strands of 
horsehair, saved this fearless revenuer's life. 

All the wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains— 
the nature, the people, the stories, and the battles 
and the jests— affected Horace Kephart mightily. 
This man whose own life had been "saved" by the 
Smokies began to think in terms of repaying this 
mountain area in kind. For during his years on Hazel 
Creek and Deep Creek and in Bryson City, he saw 
the results of the "loggers' steel," results that caused 
him to lament in a single phrase, "slash, crash, go the 
devastating forces." In 1923 he summarized his feel- 
ings about the lumber industry: 
"When I first came into the Smokies the whole region 
was one superb forest primeval. I lived for several 
years in the heart of it. My sylvan studio spread over 
mountain after mountain, seemingly without end, 
and it was always clean and fragrant, always vital, 
growing new shapes of beauty from day to day. The 


National Park Service 


.IN*- > 



Edouard E Exiine 

When the Civilian Conserva- 
tion Corps moved into the 
Smokies in the 1930s, young 
men from the cities saw 
moonshine stills firsthand. 
Here one pretends to be a 
moonshiner and hangs his 
head low for the photog- 

Grace Newman sits enrap- 
tured as Jim Proffit plays the 

vast trees met overhead like cathedral roofs. . . . Not 
long ago I went to that same place again. It was 
wrecked, ruined, desecrated, turned into a thousand 
rubbish heaps, utterly vile and mean. " 

Kephart began to think in terms of a national 
park. He and a Japanese photographer friend, 
George Masa, trekked the Smokies and gathered 
concrete experience and evidence of the mountains' 
wild splendor. At every opportunity, Kephart advo- 
cated the park idea in newspapers, in brochures, and 
by word of mouth. He proudly acknowledged that ''I 
owe my life to these mountains and I want them 
preserved that others may profit by them as I have.'' 

The concept of a national park for these southern 
mountains was not a new one in 1920. Forty years 
earlier, a retired minister and former state geologist, 
Drayton Smith, of Franklin, North Carolina, had 
proposed "a national park in the mountains." In 
1885, Dr. Henry O. Marcy of Boston, Massachusetts, 
had discussed future health resorts in America and 
had considered "the advisability of securing under 
state control a large reservation of the higher range 
as a park." By the turn of the century, the Appala- 
chian National Park Association was formed in 
Asheville, North Carolina, and publicized the idea of 
a national park somewhere in the region, not specifi- 
cally the Great Smokies. When the Federal Govern- 
ment seemed to rule out this possibility, the 
Association devoted the bulk of its time and effort to 
the creation of national forest reserves. 

But people like Horace Kephart knew the differ- 
ence between a national park that safeguarded trees 
and a national forest that allowed logging. In 1923, a 
group supporting a genuine Great Smokies park 
formed in Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. and Mrs. Willis 
P. Davis, of the Knoxville Iron Company, in the 
summer of that year had enjoyed a trip to some of 
the country's western parks. As they viewed the 
wonders preserved therein, Mrs. Davis was reminded 
of the natural magnificence near her own home. 
"Why can't we have a national park in the Great 
Smokies?" she asked her husband. 

Back in Knoxville, Mr. Davis began to ask that 
question of friends and associates. One of these was 
Col. David C. Chapman, a wholesale druggist, who 
listened but did not heed right away: 
^Not until I accidentally saw a copy of President 


Burton Wolcotf 

Theodore Roosevelt's report on the Southern Appa- 
lachians did I have any idea of just what we have 
here. In reading and rereading this report I learned 
for the first time that the Great Smokies have some 
truly superlative qualities. After that I became keenly 
interested in Mr. Davis' plan and realized that a 
national park should be a possibility. " 

The Davises and Chapman led the formation of 
the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Associa- 
tion. Congressmen and Secretary of the Interior 
Hubert Work were contacted. Work endorsed the 
project, and two years later Congress passed an act 
authorizing associations in Tennessee and North Car- 
olina to buy lands and deed them to the U.S. 

Problems immediately presented themselves. The 
citizens would have to buy this park. Unlike 
Yellowstone and other previous land grants from the 
Federal Government, the Smokies were owned by 
many private interests and therefore presented a 
giant challenge to hopeful fund raisers. To further 
complicate matters, no group had the power to con- 
demn lands; any property, if secured at all, would 
have to be coaxed from its owner at an appropriately 
high price. Finally, and most discouragingly, park 
enthusiasts faced an area of more than 6,600 sepa- 
rate tracts and thousands of landowners. 

Yet events conspired to give the park movement a 
sustaining drive. The lumber companies had made 
the people of the Smokies more dependent on money 
for additional food, modern-day clothing, and new 
forms of recreation. World War I and the coming of 
the highways had instilled a restlessness in the moun- 
tain people, a yearning for new sights and different 
ways of living. Some began to echo the sentiments of 
one farmer who, after realizing meager returns for 
his hard labor on rocky fields, looked around him 
and concluded, "Well, I reckon a park is about all 
this land is fit for.'' 

Determined leadership overcame obstacles large 
and small. Behind Chapman's professorial appearance 
— his wire-rimmed glasses and three-piece suits and 
unkempt hair— was a man who had been a colonel in 
World War I, a man who had resolved to make the 
dream of a national park into a reality. Along with 
Chapman as the driving force, associate director of 
the National Park Service Arno B. Cammerer pro- 


vided the steering and the gears. Cammerer's marked 
:^nthusiasm for incorporating the Great Smokies into 
the national park system added a well-placed, 
influential spokesman to the movement. By spring of 
1926, groups in North Carolina and Tennessee had 
raised more than a million dollars. Within another 
year, the legislatures of the two states each had 
donated twice that amount. 

With $5 million as a nest egg, park advocates 
turned to the actual buying of lands. Cammerer him- 
self defined a boundary which included the most 
suitable territory and which, as it turned out, 
conformed closely to the final boundary. Chapman 
and his associates approached individual home- 
owners. Sometimes they received greetings similar 
to one on a homemade sign: 

"Col. Chapman. You and Hoast are notify. Let the 
Cove People Alone. Get Out. Get Gone. 40 m. 
Limit. " 

The older mountain people clung desperately to 
what they had. Even though the buyers were pre- 
pared to issue lifetime leases for those who wanted 
to stay, they found it difficult to remove this resolute 
band from their homeland. 

Many of the Smokies' residents— the younger, 
more mobile, more financially oriented ones- 
accepted the coming of the park with a combination 
of fatalism and cautious hope. Gradually they ac- 
knowledged the fact that a park and its tourist trade 
might be a continuing asset, whereas the prosperity 
from logging had proved at best only temporary. 
After John D. Rockefeller, Jr., through the Laura 
Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund, doubled the 
park fund with a much-needed gift of an additional 
$5 million, renewed offers of cash completely melted 
many icy objections. 

The lumber companies followed suit, but for 
higher stakes. Champion Fibre, Little River, Suncrest, 
Norwood, and Ritter were among the 18 timber and 
pulpwood companies that owned more than 85 per- 
cent of the proposed park area. They fought to stay 
for obvious economic reasons, yet they were pre- 
pared to leave if the price was right. Little River 
Lumber Company, after considerable negotiation 
with the state of Tennessee and the city of Knoxville, 
sold its 30,345 hectares (75,000 acres) for only $8.80 
per hectare ($3.57 per acre). 


GoorgeA Grant 


The vast holdings of Champion Fibre Company 
were at the very heart of the park, however, and the 
results of the company's resistance to a national park 
were cenlral to success or failure of the whole 
movement. Champion's 36,400 hectares (90,000 
acres) included upper Greenbrier, Mt. Guyot, Mt. 
LeConte, the Chimneys, and a side of Clingmans 
Dome, crowned by extensive forests of virgin spruce. 
This splendid domain was the cause of hot tempers, 
torrid accusations, rigid defenses, and a hard-fought 
condemnation lawsuit. In the end, however, on 
March 30, 1931, Champion Fibre agreed to sell for a 
total of $3 million, a sum which took on added 
appeal during the slump of the disastrous Depression. 

Four days after this agreement, Horace Kephart 
died in an automobile accident near Cherokee, North 
Carolina. An 8-ton boulder was later brought from 
the hills above Smokemont to mark his grave in 
Bryson City. 

Only a few years earlier Kephart had said: 
'Here to-day is the last stand of primeval American 
forest at its best. If saved— and if saved at all it must 
be done at once — it will be a joy and a wonder to our 
people for all time. The nation is summoned by a 
solemn duty to preserve it. " 

And it was, indeed, preserved. The Federal Gov- 
ernment in 1933 contributed a final S2 million to the 
cause, establishing the figure of $12 million as the 
grand total of money raised for the park. On Septem- 
ber 2, 1940, with land acquisition almost completed. 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park "for the permanent 
enjoyment of the people." 

The park movement's greatest victory, coming as 
it did at Kephart's death, lent a special significance 
to his life. For his experience symbolized the good 
effects that a national park in the Great Smoky 
Mountains could create. These mountains and their 
people inspired him to write eloquently of their truth 
and endurance; his own health seemed to thrive in 
the rugged, elemental environment of the Smokies. 
Perhaps most important of all, he discovered here 
the impact of what it can mean to know a real home. 
Having found a home for himself, he labored tire- 
lessly for a national park to give to his fellow 
countrymen the same opportunity for wonder and 
renewal and growth. 

An early morning fo^ cloaks 
the dense ve^eladon and roll- 
ing hills at Cove Creek Gap. 
Such scenes inspired many 
people to rally around the 
idea of purchasing land for a 

Those attending a meeting 
March 6, 192H, when a $5 mil- 
lion gift from the Laura 
Spelman Rockefeller Memo- 
rial was announced, included 
(front from left) former Ten- 
nessee Gov. Ben W. Hooper 
Willis P. Davis, E. E. Conner, 
David C Chapman, Gov. 
Hewy H. Norton, John Nolan, 
K n ox ville May o r J a m es A . 
Fowler, (back from left) 
Kenneth Chorley, Arno B. 
Cammerer, Wiley Brownlee, 
J. M. Clark, Margaret Preston, 
Ben A. Morton. Frank 
Maloney, Cary Spence, and 
Russell Hanlon. 



The Past Becomes Present 

\s early as 1930, citizens and officials across the 
United States had begun to realize that a new addi- 
tional park would indeed encompass and preserve 
the Great Smoky Mountains. Hard-working Maj. J. 
Ross Eakin, the first superintendent of the park, 
arrived at the beginning of the next year from his 
previous post in Montana's Glacier National Park 
and was quickly introduced to the cold, mid-January 
winds of the Great Smokies and some of the contro- 
versies that had arisen during establishment of the 

At first, Eakin and his few assistants limited their 
duties to the basics; they marked boundaries, pre- 
vented hunting, fought and forestalled fire. But as 
the months passed, as the park grew in size and its 
staff increased in number, minds and muscles alike 
tackled the real problem of shaping a sanctuary 
which all the people of present and future genera- 
tions could enjoy. 

Help came from an unexpected quarter. The eco- 
nomic depression that had gripped the country in 
1930 tightened its stranglehold as the decade 
progressed. In the famous "Hundred Days" spring of 
1933, a special session of Congress passed the first 
and most sweeping series of President Roosevelt's 
New Deal legislation. The Civilian Conservation 
Corps, created in April, established work for more 
than two million young men. CCC camps, paying 
$30 a month for work in conservation, flood control, 
and wilderness projects, sprang up. 

As far as the young, struggling Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park was concerned, this new 
CCC program could not have come at a better time. 
Through the Corps, much-needed manpower con- 
verged by the hundreds on the Smokies from such 
places as New Jersey, Ohio, and New York City. 
Supervised by Park Service officials and reserve offi- 
cers from the U.S. Army, college-age men first set up 
their own camps— 17 in all— and then went about 
that old familiar labor in the Smokies, landscaping 
and building roads. In addition, they constructed 
trails, shelters, powerlines, fire towers, and bridges. 

Some of their tent-strewn camps were pitched on 
old logging sites with familiar names like Smokemont 
and Big Creek. Others, such as Camp No. 413 on 
Forney Creek, were more remote but no less 
adequate. Ingenuity, sparked by necessity, created 

John Walker, the patriarch of 
a large self-reliant family, ad- 
mires cherries he raised at his 
home in Little Greenbrier. 

Jim Shelton 


accommodations which made full use of all available 
resources. At Camp Forney, for instance, there was 
a barracks, a messhall, a bathhouse, and an officers' 
quarters. Water from clear, cold Forney Creek was 
piped into the kitchen; food was stored in a home- 
made ice chest. The residents of the camp, seeing no 
reason why they should rough it more than 
necessary, added a library, a post office, and a com- 
missary in their spare time. 

The CCC men, their ages between 18 and 25, did 
not forget recreation. As teams organized for 
football, baseball, boxing, wrestling, and soccer, the 
hills resounded with unfamiliar calls of scores and 
umpires' decisions, while the more familiar tussles of 
boxing and wrestling raised echoes of old partisan 
matches throughout the hills. At times, these young 
workers answered the urge to ramble, too. One of 
them later recalled his days as a radio man on the 
top of Mt. Sterling: 

'It was seven miles steep up there, and sometimes 
rd jog down about sundown and catch a truck for 
Newport. That's where we went to be with people. 
The last truck brought us back after midnight. " 

A minor problem sometimes arose when the CCC 
''outsiders" began dating local girls; farming fathers 
sometimes set fires to give the boys something else 
to do during the weekends. The conflict of cultures 
was thrown into a particularly sharp light when a 
Corps participant shot a farmer's hog one night and 
shouted that he had killed a bear! 

On the whole, however, the Civilian Conservation 
Corps program in the Great Smoky Mountains was a 
major success. In one or two extremely rugged areas 
of the park, retired loggers were hired in 10-day 
shifts to hack out or even drill short trail lengths. 
The rest of the 965-kilometer (600-mile) trail system, 
together with half a dozen fire towers and almost 480 
kilometers (300 miles) of fire roads and tourist 
highways, was the product of the CCC. When Super- 
intendent Eakin evaluated the work of only the first 
two years of the CCC's operation, he equated it with 
a decade of normal accomplishment. 

Through these and similar efforts, which included 
almost 1 10 kilometers (70 miles) of the famous Appa- 
lachian Trail, the natural value of the Great Smoky 
Mountains became a recognized and established lure 
for thousands, eventually millions, of visitors. But 


there was another resource that remained untapped, 
J challenge to the national park purpose and 
imagination. This resource was first overlooked, then 
neglected, and finally confronted with respect. The 
resource was the people and their homes. 

Many previous owners of park land had received 
Hfetime leases that allowed them to live on in their 
dwellings, work their fields, and cut dead timber 
even while tourists streamed through the Smokies. 
Some of the lessees, such as those living near 
Gatlinburg, saw a new era coming, thrusting back 
the street-ends until motels and restaurants and craft 
shops pushed against an abandoned apple orchard 
or a 10-plot cemetery or a deserted backyard laced 
with lilacs. These rememberers of an earlier time 
relinquished their lands in the park, more often than 
not resettling within sight of the mountain range and 
the homeland they had just left. 

Yet a few lessees, those living further up the 
valleys, deeper into the mountains, or isolated from 
the well-traveled paths, these few folks stayed on. 
The Walker sisters of Little Greenbrier Cove were 
representative of this small group. 

John Walker, their father, was himself the eldest 
of his parents' 15 children. In 1860, at the age of 19, 
he became engaged to 14-year-old Margaret Jane 
King. The Civil War postponed their wedding, and 
John, an ardent Unionist who had enlisted in the 
First Tennessee Light Artillery, spent three months 
in a Confederate prison and lost 45 kilograms (100 
pounds) before he was exchanged and provided with 
a pension. In 1866, they were finally married. After 
Margaret Jane's father died, the young couple moved 
into the King homestead in Little Greenbrier. 

They had eleven children: four boys, seven girls. 
John remained a strong Republican and Primitive 
Baptist; he liked to boast that in a long and fruitful 
lifetime he had spent a total of 50 cents on health 
care for his family (two of his sons had once required 
medicine for the measles). Margaret Jane was herself 
an "herb doctor" and a midwife, talents which com- 
plemented John's skills as a blacksmith, carpenter, 
miller, farmer. Once, as Margaret Jane was chasing a 
weasel from her hens, the reddish-brown animal bit 
her thumb and held on; she calmly thrust her hand 
into a full washtub, where the weasel drowned in 
water stained by her blood. 

Joseph S Hall 

Columbus "Clum" Cardwell 
of Hills Creek, Tennessee, 
worked in the CCC garage at 
Smokemont. That experience 
led to a 23-year career as an 
auto-mechanic at the national 


Edouard E Exiine 



, . ^ ' ^ , ■■■■ 1 r 


^ ^-^il^^K' 

Edouard E Exiine 

The children grew up. The three older boys mar- 
•ied and moved away. The youngest, Giles Daniel, 
left for Iowa and fought in World War I. Sarah 
Caroline, the only one of the daughters ever to 
marry, began her life with Jim Shelton in 1908. Hettie 
Rebecca worked for a year or two in a Knoxville 
hosiery mill, but the Depression sent her back home. 
When Nancy Melinda died in 1931, the original home 
place was left in the hands of five sisters; Hettie, 
Margaret Jane, Polly, Louisa Susan, and Martha Ann. 

They lived the self-sufficiency of their ancestors. 
They stated simply that ''our land produces every- 
thing we need except sugar, soda, coffee, and salt." 
Their supplies came from the grape arbor, the 
orchard, the herb and vegetable garden; the sheep, 
hogs, fowl, and milch cows; the springhouse crocks 
of pickled beets and sauerkraut; the dried food and 
the seed bags and the spice racks that hung from 
nails hammered into the newspaper-covered walls of 
the main house. The material aspects of their sur- 
roundings represented fully the fabric of life as it had 
been known in the hundreds of abandoned cabins 
and barns and outbuildings that dotted the land- 
scape of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 
And the Walker sisters were not about to give up 
their way of life without a struggle. In a poem, "My 
Mountain Home," Louisa expressed the family's 

"There is an old weather bettion house 
That stands near a wood 
With an orchard near by it 
For all most one hundred years it has stood 

Little Greenbrier Cove was 
known to some people as 
Five Sisters Cove because of 
the Walker sisters 'place just 
above the schoolhouse. The 
Walkers had their garden and 
grape arbors close to the 
house for handy tending. 

Inside, everything was neat 
as a pin with coats, hats, 
baskets, guns, and what-have- 
you hanging on the news- 
paper-covered walls. 

Sitting on the front porch are 
(from left) Polly, Louisa, and 
Martha. Also on the porch is 
a loom made by their father 
(see page J 20) and a spinning 

It was my home in infency 
It sheltered me in youth 
When I tell you I love it 
I tell you the truth 

'Tor years it has sheltered 
By day and night 
From the summer sun s heat 
And the cold winter blight. 

"But now the park commesser 
Comes all dressed up so gay 
Saying this old house of yours 
We must now take awav 


Josephs Hall 

Before leaving for Lufty Bap- 
tist Church, Alfred Dowdle 
and his family of Collins 
Creek pose for Joseph S. Hall, 
who was studying linguistics 
in the Smokies for the Park 

^'They coax they wheedle 
They fret they bark 
Saying we have to have this place 
For a National park 

'Tor us poor mountain people 

They dont have a care 

But must a home for 

The wolf the lion and the bear 

"But many of us have a title 
That is sure and will hold 
To the City of peace 
Where the streets are pure gold 

"There no lion in its fury 
Those pathes ever trod 
It is the home of the soul 
In the presence of God 

"When we reach the portles 
Of glory so fair 
The Wolf cannot enter 
Neather the lion or bear 

"And no park Commissioner 

Will ever dar 

To desturbe or molest 

Or take our home from us there. " 

In January of 1941, however, the Walker sisters 
relented a little and sold their 50 hectares (123 acres) 
to the United States for $4,750 and a lifetime lease. 
Partly because of this unique situation, this special 
lifestyle, park officials delayed any well-defined pro- 
gram to recreate and present a vanishing culture. 
When the Saturday Evening Post "discovered" the 
Walker sisters in 1946, tourists in the Smokies flocked 
to the Walker home as if it were a museum of 
Appalachia. The sisters themselves tolerated the 
visitors, even sold mountain "souvenirs." But the 
years passed, three of the sisters died, and in 1953 
Margaret Jane and Louisa wrote to the park 

"/ have a request to you Will you please have the 
Sign a bout the Walker Sisters taken down the one 
on High Way 73 especially the reason I am asking 


this there is just 2 of the sister lives at the old House 
place one is 70 years of age the other is 82 years of 
age and we can't receive so many visitors. We are 
not able to do our Work and receive so many visitors, 
and can 't make sovioners to sell like we once did and 
people will be expecting us to have them. ..." 

The park, of course, cooperated and helped the 
sisters until Louisa, the last, died in 1964. 

Increasingly the park recognized the value of the 
human history of the Smokies. Out of that recogni- 
tion came interpretive projects and exhibits at Cades 
Cove, Oconaluftee, Sugarlands, and a variety of 
other sites which showed and still show the resil- 
iency and the creativity of the Appalachian moun- 

The same mix of problem, potential, and progress 
has made itself felt on the Eastern Band of the 
Cherokees. Their population within the Qualla 
Boundary doubled from approximately 2,000 in 1930 
to more than 4,000 forty years later. This increase 
has only pointed more urgently to the economic, 
social, and cultural challenges confronting the 

By 1930, the inhabitants of the Qualla Boundary 
had reached a kind of balance between the customs 
of the past and the demands of the present. Most 
families owned 12 or 16 hectares (30 or 40 acres) of 
woodland, with a sixth of that cleared and planted in 
corn, beans, or potatoes. A log or frame house, a 
small barn and other outbuildings, and the animals— 
a horse, a cow, a few hogs, chickens— rounded out 
the Cherokee family's possessions, which about 
equalled those of the neighboring whites. The East- 
ern Band itself was unified by two main strands: first, 
the land tenure system by which the more than 
20,230 Qualla hectares (50,000 acres) could be leased, 
but not sold, to whites; and second, the lingering 
social organization of the clan. 

These clans, which largely paralleled the five main 
towns of Birdtown, Wolf town, Painttown, Yellow 
Hill, and Big Cove, stabilized the population into 
groups and offered, through such methods as the 
dance, an outlet for communication and expression. 
Through the Friendship dance, for example, young 
people could meet each other. The Bugah dance 
depended upon joking and teasing among relatives. 
And the revered Eagle dance celebrated victory in 


Smithsonian Institution 



the ball games between Cherokee communities. 

The whirlwind changes of the mid-20th century 
tipped whatever balance the Cherokees had gained. 
The Great Depression, World War II, and the explo- 
sion of tourism and mobility and business opportu- 
nity brought inside the Qualla Boundary both a 
schedule of modernization and a table of uncertainty. 
The dance declined in importance. Surrounding 
counties seemed to take better advantage of the new 
trends than these natives who had been cast into a 
political no-man's-land. 

By the 1950s, the Eastern Band could look for- 
ward to a series of familiar paradoxes: relatively 
poor education; a wealth of small tourist enterprise 
and a dearth of large, stable industry; an unsurpassed 
mountain environment and an appalling state of pub- 
lic health. A 1955 survey of health conditions, for 
instance, found that 90 percent of 600 homes in 
seven Cherokee districts had insufficient water, 
sewage, and garbage facilities. More than 95 percent 
of the housing was substandard. Diseases springing 
from inadequate sanitation prevailed. 

The situation changed and is still in the process of 
change. The Eastern Band could not and cannot 
allow such oversight, such undercommittment. The 
Qualla Boundary Community Action Program spon- 
sored day-care centers in several Cherokee commu- 
nities. In the years surrounding 1960, three industries 
manufacturing products from quilts to moccasins 
located at Cherokee and began to employ hundreds 
of men and women on a continuing, secure basis. A 
few years later, community action turned its efforts 
to the housing problem; as the program drove ahead, 
400 homes were either "constructed or significantly 
improved," reducing the percentage of substandard 
houses to about 50 percent. As for living facilities, 
the percentages have been exactly reversed: 90 per- 
cent of homes now have septic tanks and safe water. 

The Cherokee Boys' Club, a nonprofit organiza- 
tion incorporated in 1964, has improved the quality 
of life within the Qualla Boundary. The club's self- 
supporting projects include a complete bus service 
for Cherokee schools and garbage collection for the 
North Carolina side of the Smokies. Along with the 
Qualla Civic Center, the Boys' Club serves a useful 
socializing function as the modern equivalent to past 
dances and rituals. 

Dances are associated with 
certain traditional Cherokee 
games. Separate groups of 
women and lacrosse-like 
players are about to begin a 
pre-game dance in IHH8. 

Nine men celebrate a game 
victory with an Eagle Dance 
in 1932. 

Samson Welsh shoots arrows 
with a blow gun at the Chero- 
kee Indian Fair in J 936. 


Perhaps the soundest of the native Cherokee busi- 
nesses is the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. Since 
1947, the Qualla Co-op has marketed the work of 
hundreds of Indian craftsmen. Magnificent carvings 
of cherry and walnut and baskets of river cane and 
honeysuckle preserve the skills and art of the past 
and symbolize the performance and the promise of 
the Eastern Band of the Cherokees. 

The Tennessee portion of the Great Smoky Moun- 
tains has seen its share of major accomplishments 
through imagination and hard work. One such ac- 
complishment is Gatlinburg's Arrowmont School of 
Arts and Crafts, known as the Pi Beta Phi Settlement 
School during the early years of the century. 

In 1910, Gatlinburg comprised a half-dozen 
houses, a couple of general stores, a church, and 
scant educational facilities. Perhaps 200 families 
Hved in the upper watershed of the Little Pigeon 
River, and these families looked to Gatlinburg for 
trading, visiting, and whatever learning they could 
reasonably expect to receive during their lifetimes. 
In that year, the national sorority of Pi Beta Phi 
decided to establish a needed educational project 
somewhere in rural America; after discussing a possi- 
ble site with the U.S. commissioner of education, 
who suggested Tennessee, and the state commis- 
sioner, who chose Sevier County, and the county 
superintendent, who pointed to the isolated commu- 
nity of Gatlinburg, the group picked this little village 
in the shadow of the Great Smokies as the area in 
which they would work. 

On February 20, 1912, Martha Hill, a neatly 
dressed and determined young brunette from 
Nashville, opened school in an abandoned Baptist 
church at the junction of Baskins Creek and the 
Little Pigeon River. Thirteen suspicious but willing 
pupils, their ages ranging from 4 to 24, offered them- 
selves for instruction. At first, attendance was 
irregular, but by Christmastime, a celebration at the 
schoolroom drew a crowd of 300. Miss Hill, herself 
tired and a bit ill from spending exhausting hours 
nursing several sick neighbors, had to be brought to 
the party by wagon from a cottage she had leased for 
$1.50 per month. 

The winter warmed into spring and the one-room 
school grew into a settlement school. Workers from 
Pi Beta Phi organized a sewing club for girls, a 


baseball club for boys. Martha Hill gathered some 
books together to form the nucleus ot a library. 
Students built barns and chicken houses on land 
bought with sorority and community contributions. 

During the next two years, achievements small 
and large piled upon each other. The library ex- 
panded to almost 2,000 books; school enrollment 
swelled to well over 100. Pi Phi sank a second well, 
tended a fruit orchard, took the children on their 
first trip to Maryville. The people of Gatlinburg 
began to accept the school both in spirit and in fact. 

Activities branched out into other fields. In the 
fall of 1920, nurse Phyllis Higinbotham, an experi- 
enced graduate of Johns Hopkins, converted the old 
cottage into a hospital. Endowed with both unswerv- 
ing dedication and unending friendliness, "Miss 
Phyllis" walked and rode from house to house, 
trained midwives, taught hygiene, and persuaded 
doctors from Knoxville and Sevierville to keep occa- 
sional office hours in Gatlinburg. In 1926, after firmly 
establishing a model rural health center, Phyllis 
Higinbotham became state supervisor of public 
health nurses for Tennessee. 

As time passed, the county and the burgeoning 
town assumed greater responsibility for the Pi Beta 
Phi Settlement School's crucial progress in the vital 
areas of health and education. But the broad-based 
school was by no means undermined. Almost as 
soon as it had arrived in Gatlinburg, Pi Phi had 
begun offering adult courses in home economics, 
agriculture, weaving, and furniture making. These 
courses formed the basis for a true cottage industry 
which in the late 1920s benefitted more than 100 
local families. And when the coming of the Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park assured a constant 
wave of tourism, the products of folk culture in the 
Smokies rode the crest of that wave. 

The present-day Arrowmont School of Arts and 
Crafts, located upon a peaceful estate in the heart of 
commercial Gatlinburg, attests to the imagination of 
a generous group, the cooperation of a chosen 
community, and the lasting good works of both. Like 
Oualla, like the CCC camps, like the park today, 
and, most of all, like the Walker place, Arrowmont 
signifies the profound beauty that can result when 
people practice a simple respect for their homeland. 



Woods and meadows, fields 
and mines and swamps, every 
part of the natural scene 
yielded some material that 
could be transformed into a 
handcrafted article of useful- 
ness and beauty. From the 
trees came richly grained lum- 
ber for furniture and musical 
instruments, sturdy timber for 
tools and utensils, and softer 
wood for whittling "play- 
pretties" and purely decora- 
tive objects. Wood-working, 
even sculpture, became one 
of the outstanding skills of 
mountain artisans. All the 


or the region s history: weav- . 
ing and spinning, quilting and 
braiding and hooking, mak- 
ing dyes from roots, barks, 
vegetables, herbs. Baskets 
were woven from oak and 
hickory splits, from river 
cane, and honeysuckle vines. 
Cherokee and mountaineer 
alike shared designs and 
shapes for the baskets made 
from different materials for 
uses ranging from egg-gather- 
ing to household storage. 
And, as illustrated by Mrs. 
Matt Ownby (left) and Mack 

McCarter (below), basket- 

Laura Thomborough 



imaking was something done 

y bot&men and women. 
JiJlay, fashioned on rude, 
homerti^e potter's wheels of 
the eafljer days, provided pots 

nd pkcliers of primitive 
handsomeness and daily util- 
ity. Broomcorn and sedge of- 
fered materials for rough but 
effective brooms. Leather 
crafts arose from the need for 
harnesses on mules and horse, 
and shoes on people. Skin- 
ning, treating, tanning were 
just the first steps of a long, 
demanding process of turn- 
ing raw hide into usable 
leather. The use of corn 

sfeucks illustrated with special 
clarity the mountain person's 
inventiveness in utilizing 
everything he raised or ac- 
quired. Corn shucks could 
make a stout chair-bottom or 
a captivating little mountain 
doll. Nimble fingers turned 
the husks into a dozen differ- 
ent articles. In his Handicrafts 
of the Southern Highlands, 
Allen H. Eaton wrote in 1937: 
"We must try to find the 
qualities of excellence which 
these people have developed 
before insisting that they ac- 
cept our formula for living, 
thinking, and expression 

Better certainly, if we know, 
as those who have worked ai 
lived in the Highlands have 
had a chance to know, what . 
are the standards and the 
ideals to which the people 
cling. But even that experi- 
ence should not be necessa _, 
for us to understand and to 
cherish the spirit of the young 
highlander who, after express- 
ing gratitude to the mission- 
ary who had come in to help 
build a school, said with char- 
acteristic mountain frankness, 
'Bring us your civilization, but 
leave us our own culture.' " 


Claude Huskev and Mack McCarter make chairs at one of the sh 



John Jones was the miller in the late 1930s at the Mmgus Creek Mill in Oconaluftee. 






Tom and Jerry Hearon, along with John Burns, hew a log trough with a broad ax and adi 

A Smokies resident builds a flat bed for his sourwood sled. 







Coming Home 

and Lurena Oliver takes a 
family back to yesteryear in 
Cades Cove. 

Tremont. This Tennessee valley of the Middle Prong A visit to the cabin of John 
'A the Little River does not differ widely from Deep 
Creek or Greenbrier or Cosby or most of the other 
branches and hollows of the Smokies. Each, includ- 
ing Tremont, penetrates the hills, divides them like a 
furrow, and protects its own rocky, racing stream 
with a matting of thick, green growth. Nearby Cades 
Cove and North Carolina's Cataloochee might guard 
a few hectares of lush, hill-cradled pasture or 
farmland, but even these are stamped with the clear, 
cool air and feel of the Great Smoky Mountains. 

So Tremont is representative. And, perhaps be- 
cause of this, it is a symbol— a symbol of both the 
mystery and the clarity of the mountains which give 
it a name. There is, for example, the legend of a 
small boy who wandered into the backcountry above 
the ''Sinks" and was lost for two days. Uncle Henry 
Stinnett, a worried neighbor, searched in vain for the 
boy until he dreamed, on the second night, of a child 
sleeping near a log on a familiar ridge. Henry Stinnett 
renewed the search, and the boy was indeed found 
asleep ''under the uprooted stump of a tree." 

And side by side with such a strange vision exists 
its opposite: the unforeseen. In August of 1947, a 
young woman was sunbathing on the boulders of the 
river. While she enjoyed the rays of the warm sun 
downstream, the high upper reaches of the prong 
were being flooded by the swollen, flash attacks of a 
hidden cloudburst. Within minutes, the woman 
drowned in a hurtling wall of water. 

Yet there is also a clarity here that offsets the 
unknown. It is a quality of outlook, a confidence of 
ability and expectation for the future as immense as 
the mountains which inspire it. But it is an awareness 
grounded in the facts of history and anecdote and 
the crisp, fresh sounds of children's voices. 

"Black Bill" Walker knew about children; he had 
more than 25 himself. A double first cousin to the 
father of Little Greenbrier's Walker sisters, "Black 
Biir or "Big Will" Walker moved into the lonely 
valley in 1859. He was only 21 years old then, and his 
name was simply William. He was accompanied by 
his strong 19-year-old wife, Nancy. 

His mother was a Scot, a member of the McGill 
clan. His father, Marion, was another of those multi- 
talented frontiersmen: miller, cattleman, orchardist, 
bear hunter, saddlebag preacher. William took up 

FredR Bell 


Legend has it that Black Bill 
Walker once went into a cave 
after a bear and came out 
alive — with the hide. The 
story is probably true, for he 
did many things on a grand 
scale. He was the patriarch 
not only of a large family, but 
of a community. 

where his parents left off. He became the leader, the 
ruler of the community he had started. He was 
rumored to have been a Mormon, although denomi- 
nations mattered little in the wilderness. He and 
Nancy raised seven children. Later wives bore him 
approximately 20 more. 

He milled his own corn and built log cabins for 
each of his families. He fashioned an immense 
muzzle-loading rifle, nicknamed it ''Old Death,'' and 
handled it with rare skill. Horace Kephart, in a 1918 
magazine article, tells of a conversation he had with 
the 80-year-old hunter: 

"Black Bills rifle was one he made with his own 
hands in the log house where I visited him. He rifled 
it on a wooden machine that was likewise of his own 
make, and stocked it with wood cut on his own land. 
The piece was of a little more than half-ounce bore, 
and weighed 12^2 pounds . . . the old hunter showed 
me how he loaded. . . . 

" 'Mv bullets are run small enough so that a naked 
one will jest slip down on the powder by its own 
weight. When I'm in a hurry, I pour in the powder by 
guess, wet a bullet in my mouth, and drop it down 
the gun. Enough powder sticks to it to keep the ball 
from falling out if I shoot downhill. Then I snatch a 
cap from one o' these strings, and— so. ' 

"The old man went through the motions like a 
sleight-of-hand performer. The whole operation of 
loading took barely ten seconds. " 

After Black Biirs own children had grown, he 
went to the nearby town of Maryville and requested 
and received a school in the valley for children yet to 
come. He governed his settlement, yet he was not 
merely a governor. He was a remarkable man, an 
individualist who also built a community. 

After Black Bill's death in 1919, life in Tremont 
continued as before. Families still ate turkey and 
pheasant, squirrel and venison, sweet potatoes and 
the first greenery of spring, onions. Children's bare 
feet remained tough enough to break open chestnut 
burrs. Mothers continued to put dried peaches in a 
jar full of moonshine, let it sit a day or two, and test 
their peach brandy with a sip or two. And on 
Christmas, fathers and sons "got out and shot their 
guns" in celebration. 

Intervals of violence interrupted the daily routine. 
Farmers with cattle and sheep freely roaming the 


National Park Service 



'~^i if, iM^gui 


"It is point blank aggravating: 
I can 't walk a log like I used 
to, "Aden Carver told H. C. 
Wilburn as he crossed Brad- 
ley Fork in October 1937 at 
the age of 91. 

ridges sometimes made it hard for others to grow 
corn and similar crops. A hunter's bear and 'coon 
dogs might kill some sheep. One ''war ' ended with a 
fire on Fodder Stack Mountain that raced down into 
Chestnut Flats and killed a number of sheep. No 
humans died, but the sheep men killed all the hunt- 
ing dogs in the vicinity. 

By the early 1920s, change was creeping into the 
valley. The Little River Lumber Company persuaded 
Black Bill's children to do what he would not do: sell 
the timber. From the mid-twenties to the mid-thirties, 
more than 1 ,000 workers lived in the logging town of 
Tremont, patronized the Tremont Hotel, and hauled 
away tens of thousands of the virgin forest's giants. 

With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
came the CCC. The Civilian Conservation Corps 
camp on the old lumber site, together with a Girl 
Scout camp that would last until 1959, signaled a 
retreat— and a progression — from the extractive in- 
dustry of the past. Although the CCC disbanded 
during World War II, a modern-day CCC arrived in 
1964. The Job Corps combined conservation work, 
such as trail maintenance and stream cleaning, with 
training in vital skills of roadbuilding, masonry, and 
the operation of heavy machinery. 

Then, in 1969, Tremont entered a new era. The 
previous years of innovation seemed to prepare the 
secluded valley for a truly fresh and creative effort in 
education. The Walkers would have been proud of 
what came to be the Environmental Education Center. 

The Center draws on both original and time-tested 
techniques to teach grade school children basic 
awareness and respect for the natural world around 
them. Because its achievements are both fundamen- 
tal and effective, and because it treats a splendid 
mountain area as a lasting and deserving homeland 
for plants and animals and human beings, the story 
of Tremont culminates this history of the Great 
Smoky Mountains. For here is one of the ways the 
Smokies can be best used: as a wild refuge and a 
living laboratory where young people may discover 
the deeper meaning of the park's past and why, for 
the future, there is a park at all. 

The Environmental Education Center, adminis- 
tered by Maryville College from 1969 through 1979 
and since then by Great Smoky Mountains Natural 
History Association, evolved through planning by 


both the park and nearby county school systems. One 
of the rangers, Lloyd Foster, became so attached to 
the ideas being presented that he obtained a leave of 
absence Irom his work, persistently promoted the 
project, and became Tremont's first director. Experi- 
enced teachers such as Elsie Burrell and Randolph 
Shields helped Foster convert talk into action, rheto- 
ric into experience. 

The center soon offered a real alternative to con- 
ventional and overcrowded schools caught in the 
midst of industrialization. Teacher-led or parent- 
supervised classes from a multitude of states and 
cities organized themselves, paid a base fee for each 
member, and came to the valley for one week during 
the year. Within months, Tremont was teaching ele- 
mentary students at the rate of thousands per year. 
The organizers retained their informal, camp-like 
approach to interested groups and added to the origi- 
nal dining room and two dormitories an audiovisual 
room and a laboratory complete with powerful 
microscopes. As the program expanded, children 
could fulfill their imaginative promptings in an art 
room, or build a miniature skidder in the crafts 
room, or turn to a library of extensive readings. 

As the idea of environmental education at 
Tremont and elsewhere spread by word of mouth, 
volunteers from across the country arrived and aided 
those already at work. High school and college stu- 
dents participated in and still attend weekend confer- 
ences on the activities and the progress of the Center. 

They learn, first of all, fundamental concepts that 
are expressed simply: ''You don't have to have a lot 
of fancy buildings to do a good program," or "You 
know, sometimes we teach a lot of theory and we 
don't really get down to— I guess you'd call it the 
nitty-gritty," or even "Now don't chicken out, the 
way some of you did last time, step in the water." 

They learn of "quiet hour," when, at the beginning 
of the week, each child stakes out a spot for himself 
in the woods, beside the stream, wherever choice 
leads. For an hour each day, in sun or rain, every- 
body seeks his or her own place and is assured of 
peace and privacy. A girl writes a poem to her 
parents; a fourth-grader contemplates on a rock by 
the water; and almost everyone who observes the 
quiet hour looks forward to it eagerly each day. 

They learn about the highly effective lessons that 

In an attempt to capture the 
spirit of the old days, a family 
climbs about a Cades Cove 

Pages 142-143: Members of 
the Tilman Ownby family of 
Dudley Creek, near Gatlin- 
burg, gather for a reunion in 
the early 1900s. Many of their 
descendants still live in the 
Smokies area todav. 

National Park Service 



^"- ^^^^te 


*C^:a;« -£.*»,■ 



are scattered throughout the week, lessons such as 
man and water," "stream ecology," "continuity and 
change." Imaginative gatherings become not the ex- 
ception but the rule: "Sometimes we take a group of 
children, divide them into members of a make- 
believe pioneer family, and take them up into a 
wilderness area, an area which is truly pristine, al- 
most a virgin forest. And we let the kids imagine that 
they are this pioneer family, and that they are going 
to pick out a house site." In one game called 
"succession," a boy from blacktopped, "civilized" 
Atlanta might search along a road for signs of life on 
the pavement, then in the gravel, then in the grass, 
then within the vast, teeming forest. And a day's trip 
to the Little Greenbrier schoolhouse gives the chil- 
dren of today a chance to experience what it was like 
when the Walker sisters and their ancestors sat on 
the hard wooden benches and learned the three R's 
and felt the bite of a hickory switch. 

It may seem odd that modern children should 
enjoy so much a trip to school. But enjoy it they do, 
for as they fidget on the wooden benches or spell 
against each other in an old-fashioned "spelldown" 
or read a mid- 1800s dictionary that defines a kiss as 
"a salute with the lips," they enter into a past place 
and a past time. For a few minutes, at least, they 
identify with the people who used to be here in these 
Smokies— not "play-acting" but struggling to survive 
and improve their lives. 

The schoolhouse itself is old, built in 1882 out of 
poplar logs and white oak shingles. Its single room 
used to double as a church for the community, but 
now the two long, narrow windows on either side 
open out onto the protected forest of the park. A 
woman stands in the doorway, dressed in a pink 
bonnet and an old-fashioned, ankle-length dress. She 
rings a cast iron bell. The children, who have been 
out walking on this early spring morning, hear the 
bell and begin to run toward it. Some of them see the 
school and shout and beckon the others. In their 
hurry, they spread out and fill the clearing with 
flashes of color and expectation. The woman in the 
doorway is their teacher. 

They have spanned a century and longer. They 
now live in more worlds than one, because they have 
come to the place where their spirit lives. It is again 
homecoming in the Great Smoky Mountains. 

Children anxiously line up to 
go back a few years with Elsie 
Burrell at the one-room 
schoolhouse in Little Green- 






uide and Advis 


>' t 

I i 

Traveling in the Smokies 

"You can't get there from here/' an 
oldtimer might tell you about traveling 
in the Smokies, and you might think 
that's true when you get on some of 
the back roads in the area. But if you 
stick mostly to the paved roads and 
use your auto map and the map in this 
book, you should not have much or any 
trouble finding your way around Great 
Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The park, which is administered by 
the National Park Service, U.S. Depart- 
ment of the Interior, is located along 
the border between North Carolina 
and Tennessee. It can be reached by 
major highways in both states and by 
the Blue Ridge Parkway, which con- 
nects the park with Shenandoah Na- 
tional Park in Virginia. Newfound Gap 
Road, the only road that crosses the 
park, connects Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 
with Cherokee, North Carolina. It is 
closed to commercial vehicles. 

There are just a few other roads 
within the park itself, so travel be- 
tween distant points is quite rounda- 
bout and time consuming. But you will 
see plenty of nice scenery along the 
way. Because this handbook focuses 
on the history of the area, the travel 
information does, too. But by no means 
should you let the limited scope pre- 
sented here limit what you do. We 
encourage you to enjoy the scenic 
views, flowers, shrubs, and wildlife as 
you travel to and through the historic 
sites. For example, while you're in the 
Cable Mill area at Cades Cove, you 
might take the trail to Abrams Falls. 
It's a delightful short hike to a beauti- 
ful spot in the park. And if you take 
the Roaring Fork Auto Tour, you 
might hike the 2.4 kilometers (1.5 
miles) through a hemlock forest to 
Grotto Falls. There are plenty of other 
short hikes in the park, and when you 
take them you may come across 

decaying ruins of early settlements. 
Visitor Centers 

Park headquarters and the major 
visitor center are at Sugarlands, 3.2 
kilometers (2 miles) south of Gatlin- 
burg. Other visitor centers are at 
Cades Cove and at Oconaluftee, both 
of which are prime historical areas in 
the park. The Sugarlands and 
Oconaluftee centers are open 8 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m. during the winter, with ex- 
tended hours the rest of the year. The 
Cades Cove center, located in the Ca- 
ble Mill area on the loop road, is open 
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from mid-April 
through October. Exhibits at the Cades 
Cove and Oconaluftee centers feature 
the human history of the Smokies. The 
relative flatness of the Cades Cove 
area makes this the best place to bicy- 
cle in the park. 
Walks and Talks 

Some of the guided walks and eve- 
ning programs deal with history. Check 
schedules at the visitor centers and 
campgrounds or in the park newspaper. 

Mountain lifeways and skills are 
demonstrated periodically from early 
spring through October at the Pioneer 
Farmstead at Oconaluftee, Cades 
Cove, Mingus Mill, and Little Green- 
brier School. At Oconaluftee you can 
walk through a typical Smokies farm 
and see many of yesteryear's house- 
hold chores being demonstrated. At 
Cades Cove, you can see, among other 
things, how sorghum and wooden shin- 
gles were made. Millers seasonally op- 
erate the gristmills near Oconaluftee 
and at Cades Cove. All of these demon- 
strations indicate that the good old 
days were not easy ones. 
Further Information 

For more detailed travel and natural 
history information, see Handbook 
112, Great Smoky Mountains, in this 
National Park Service series. This book 


and an extensive array of literature 
about various aspects of the park are 
sold at the Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, 
and Cades Cove visitor centers by a 
nonprofit organization that assists the 
park's interpretive programs. For a 
price list, write to: Great Smoky Moun- 
tains Natural History Association, 
Gatlinburg,TN 37738. 

Specific questions can be addressed 
to: Superintendent, Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, 
TN 37738. The headquarters' tele- 
phone number is (615) 436-5615. 
Accommodations and Services 

You can obtain gasoline, food, 
lodging, and camping supplies in most 
communities near the park in both 
Tennessee and North Carolina. Sev- 
eral campgrounds are located in both 
the park and in the nearby towns. 

Within the park, only LeConte 
Lodge and Wonderland Hotel offer 
accommodations, and they are limited. 
A half-day hike up a mountain trail is 
required to reach LeConte Lodge, 
which is open from mid-April to late 
October. Rustic hotel accommodations 
and food service are provided at Won- 
derland Hotel in Elkmont from June 1 
to October L 

Write to the chambers of commerce 
in the communities near the park for 
general travel advice and for current 
information on the availability of lodg- 
ing facilities. 

While touring the park's historical 
sites, stay on the trails, keep children 
under control, enjoy the farm animals at 
a distance, and stay safely away from 
the millwheels and other machinery. 

While traveling throughout the park, 
beware of the many black bears no 
matter how tame they may appear. If 
they approach your vehicle, keep the 
windows closed. Do not feed the bears! 

And keep in mind that the weather 
can change quickly in the Smokies and 
that hypothermia can strike not only in 
the winter but at any season. Be care- 
ful not to become wet and/or chilled. 
Carry extra clothing. 

See Handbook 112, Great Smoky 
Mountains, for more precautions and 
information about the black bear, 
hypothermia, and other dangers. 

Roads within the park are designed 
for scenic driving, so stay within the 
speed limits and be alert for slow vehi- 
cles and for others exiting and entering. 
Pull off the roads or park only at 
designated areas. Gasoline is not sold 
in the park, so be sure to fill your tank 
before heading on a long trip. 

Do not leave valuables inside a 
locked car where they can be seen. 
Leave them home, take them with you 
when you leave your vehicle, or lock 
them in the trunk. 

Hunting is prohibited in the park. 
Firearms must be broken down so they 
cannot be used. The use of archery 
equipment, game calls, and spotlights 
also is prohibited. 

All plants, animals, and artifacts are 
protected by Federal law here. Do not 
disturb them in any way. Fishing is 
permitted subject to state and Federal 
regulations and licensing. 

All overnight camping in the back- 
country requires a backcountry permit. 
Otherwise, camp and build fires only 
in designated campground sites. 

We suggest that you do not bring 
pets. They are permitted in the park 
but only if on a leash or under other 
physical control. They may not be 
taken on trails or cross-country hikes. 
Veterinary services are found nearby. 
If you want to board your pet during 
your stay here, check with the nearby 
chambers of commerce. 



Self-sufficiency and individuality were 
strong traits in the Smokies. Each per- 
son had to do a variety of tasks, and 
each family member had to help or 
complement the others. Just as Milas 
Messer (see pages 90-91) exemplified 
these traits personally, the Pioneer 
Farmstead at Oconaluftee on the North 
Carolina side of the park represents 
them structurally. Various buildings 
have been brought here to create a 
typical Smokies farmstead on the 
banks of the Oconaluftee River. 

In the summer and fall farm animals 
roam about the farmstead and a man 
and a woman carry out daily chores to 
give you an idea of what the pioneers 
had to do just to exist. At first these 
Jacks- and Jills-of-all-trades had no 
stores to go to. They made their own 
tools, built their own houses and barns 
and outbuildings, raised their own 
food, made their own clothes, and 
doctored themselves, for the most part. 

The log house here is a particularly 
nice one, for John Davis built it with 
matched walls. He split the logs in half 
and used the halves on opposite walls. 
The two stone chimneys are typical of 
the earliest houses. Davis' sons, then 8 
and 4, collected rocks for the chim- 
neys with oxen and a sled. 

Behind the house is an essential 
building, the meathouse. Here meat, 
mostly pork, was layered on the shelf 
at the far end and covered with a thick 
coating of salt. After the meat had 
cured, it was hung from poles, which 
go from end to end, to protect it from 
rodents. In the early years especially, 
bear meat and venison hung alongside 
the pork. 

Apples were a big part of the settlers' 
diet in a variety of forms: cider, 
vinegar, brandy, sauces, and pies. And 
of course they ate them, too, right off 
the tree. The thick rock walls on the 

At the Pioneer Famistead in 
Oconaluftee you can get a 
glimpse of what daily fann life 
was like in the Smokies. Besides 
the ongoing kitchen tasks, 
chores included tending cows 
and chickens, cutting and 
stacking hay, building and 
repairing bams and wagons, 
and a thousand other things. 


lower floor of the apple house protect 
the fruit from freezing in winter. The 
summer apples were kept on the log- 
wall second floor. 

The Indians' maize, or corn, was the 
most essential crop on the typical 
Smokies farmstead. Besides being used 
as food for livestock, it was the staple 
for the pioneers themselves. With corn 
they made corn bread, hoe cakes, corn 
meal mush, and even a little moon- 
shine. The harvested crop was kept 
dry in a corncrib until used. 

As the pioneers became more set- 
tled and turned into farmers, they built 
barns to provide shelter for their cows, 
oxen, sheep, and horses, plus some of 
their farming equipment and hay. The 
large, log barn at the Oconaluftee 
Farmstead is unusual. It is a drovers' 
barn — a hotel for cattle and other ani- 
mals driven .to market. The barn is 
located close to its original site. 

Most farmers had a small black- 
smith shop where they could bang out 
a few tools, horseshoes, hinges, and, 
later on, parts for farm machinery. 
These structures were not very 
sophisticated; they just had to provide 
a little shelter so the fire could be kept 
going and to protect the equipment — 
and to keep the smith dry — during 
inclement weather. 

The springhouse served not only as 
the source of water but as a refrig- 
erator. Here milk, melons, and other 
foods were kept, many of them in large 
crocks. The water usually ran through 
the springhouse in one half of a 
hollowed out log, or in a rock-lined 
trench. On hot, muggy days, a child 
sent to the springhouse for food or 
water might tarry a moment or two to 
enjoy the air conditioning. 

The farmstead is open all year, but 
the house is open only from May to 


Cades Cove 

Just as Oconaluftee represents self- 
sufficiency and individuality, Cades 
Cove illustrates those traits, plus some- 
thing else: a sense of community. Here 
individuals and families worked hard 
at eking out a living from day to day, 
but here, too, everyone gathered to- 
gether from time to time to help har- 
vest a crop, raise a barn, build a 
church, and maintain a school. The 
structural evidence of this helping- 
hand attitude still stands today in 
Cataloochee (see pages 154-155) and 
in Cades Cove. 

At its peak in 1850, Cades Cove had 
685 residents in 132 households. A few 
years after that the population shrank 
to 275 as the soil became overworked 
and as new lands opened up in the 
West. Then the population rose again 
to about 500 just before the park was 

The State of Tennessee had ac- 
quired this land in 1820 from the Cher- 
okees and then sold it to speculators, 
who in turn sold plots to the settlers. 
They cleared most of the trees and 
built their houses at the foot of the 
surrounding hills. Corn, wheat, oats, 
and rye were raised on the flat lands, 
whereas the slopes were used for 
pastures, orchards, and vegetable 
gardens. The Park Service leases some 
of the land here today to farmers to 
keep the cove open as it was in the 
early settlement days. 

In Cades Cove you will find some of 
the finest log buildings in America. 
Some are original; the others come 
from elsewhere in the park. The first 
log house on the 18-kilometer 
(ll-mile)-loop-road tour belonged to 
John and Lurena Oliver, who bought 
their land in 1826. Their cabin, with its 
stone chimney and small windows, is 
typical of many in the Smokies, and it 
remained in the Oliver family until the 

The Methodist Church, Cable 
Mill and Gregg-Cable house 
are just three of the ttianv log or 
frame structures still standing in 
Cades Cove today. 


park was established. A stone in the 
Primitive Baptist Church cemetery just 
down the road commemorates John 
and Lurei>a, the first permanent white 
settlers in the cove. The church was 
organized in 1827, and the log building 
was used until 1887, though the 
members, who were pro-Union, felt 
they had to shut it down during the 
Civil War because of strong rebel 

The Methodist Church supposedly 
was built by one man, J. D. McCamp- 
bell, in 1 15 days for SI 15, and after he 
was done he served as its preacher for 
many years. The frame Missionary 
Baptist Church was built in 1894 by a 
group that split from the Primitive 
Baptists in 1839 because it endorsed 
missionary work. 

Elijah Oliver's log house may well be 
one of the first split-levels. The lower 
kitchen section off the back formerly 
was the home of the Herron family and 
was brought here and attached to the 
main house. This is a good place to see 
some of the many auxiliary structures 
most families had: springhouse, barn, 
and smokehouse. 

Many families also had a tub mill 
with which they could grind a bushel 
of corn a day. When they had more 
corn to grind, they would take it to a 
larger mill, such as John Cable's. His 
was not the first waterwheel mill in 
Cades Cove, but it is the only remain- 
ing one today. It has been rehabili- 
tated a few times, but the main 
framing, the millstones, and some of 
the gears are original. 

In the Cable Mill area are several 
other structures that have been brought 
here from other parts of the park. 
Among them is the Gregg-Cable house, 
possibly the first frame house in Cades 
Cove. It was built by Leason Gregg in 
1879 and later became the home, until 

her death in 1940, of Becky Cable, 
John's daughter. At different times the 
house served as a store and a boarding- 
house. The blacksmith shop, barns, 
smokehouse, corncrib, and sorghum 
mill are representative of such struc- 
tures in the Smokies. 

Heading east from the mill area, you 
come to the Henry Whitehead and 
Dan Lawson places. At both you can 
see some of the best log work, inside 
and out, within the park, and both 
have brick instead of stone chimneys. 
These houses represent the transition 
between the crude log house and the 
finer log house. Further down the road 
is "Hamp" Tipton's place, where you 
can see an apiary or bee gum stand. 
Honey, sorghum, and maple syrup 
were common sweets for folks in the 

The last house on the loop road is 
the Carter Shields place, a one-story 
log house with loft. This cabin is about 
the average size of Smokies cabins, but 
it is a bit fancier than most with its 
beaded paneling in the living room and 
a closed-in stairway. 

The buildings in Cades Cove are 
open all year except for the churches 
and a few other structures. 


Other Historic Sites in the Park 

Cades Cove and Oconaluftee are the 
primary locations of historic structures 
in the national park, but elsewhere 
there are a few interesting buildings to 

From Gatlinburg head south on Air- 
port Road, which runs into Cherokee 
Orchard Road in the park. Soon you 
come to Noah ''Bud" Ogle's place. 
Ogle and his wife, Cindy, started farm- 
ing here on 160 hectares (400 acres) in 
1879. Here you can see a log house, log 
barn, and restored tub mill. 

South of the Ogle place you come to 
Roaring Fork Auto Tour. On this one- 
way 8-kilometer (5-mile) tour you can 
see that nature has reclaimed most of 
the Roaring Fork community. Among 
the few remaining buildings are Jim 
Bales' corncrib and barn, plus a log 
house that was moved here. 

Home for Ephraim Bales, his wife, 
and nine children consisted of two 
joined log cabins. The smaller one was 
the kitchen, and in front of its hearth is 
a ''tater hole." Family members could 
lift up a floor board, remove some 
potatoes from storage, and toss them 
on the fire to bake. Other structures 
here include a corncrib and barn. 

A log house and mill are the only 
structures that remain of the many 
that belonged to Alfred Reagan, one 
of Roaring Fork's more talented 
residents. He was a farmer, blacksmith, 
preacher, miller, storekeeper, and 
carpenter. His house was more refined 
than most in the Smokies. 

The Roaring Fork Auto Tour road is 
open from mid-April to mid-November. 

In the Oconaluftee Valley just north 
of the Pioneer Farmstead is Mingus 
Mill, built for Abraham Mingus in the 
1870s by Sion Thomas Early. This 
gristmill, the finest and most advanced 
in the Smokies, has a water-powered 
turbine beneath it. Water flows down a 

On the way to and from Sugar- 
lands you can take side trips to 
(below) Mingus Mill, Little 
Greenbrier School, and Bud 
Ogle s place at Roaring Fork. 
Plan on devoting nearly a full 
day to visit isolated Cataloo - 
chee, where you can see (right) 
the Caldwell home, school - 
house. Palmer Chapel, and 
several other structures. 


millrace and flume to the mill, and, 
when the flume gate is raised, fills the 
penstock to power the turbine. The 
mill has two sets of grinding stones, 
one for corn and one for wheat. The 
mill was in operation until 1936, 
reopened for a few months in 1940, 
and reconditioned by the Great Smoky 
Mountains Natural History Associa- 
tion in 1968. It is open daily from May 
through October with a miller usually 
on duty to explain its workings. 

North of Mingus Mill is Smokemont. 
All that remains of this small commu- 
nity is the Oconaluftee Baptist Church, 
a frame structure that sits high on a 

Just off Little River Road between 
Sugarlands and Tremont is Little 
Greenbrier School (see pages 85 and 
144). In the summer an interpreter 
often is on hand to help children, and 
adults, understand what going to 
school was like in the Smokies. The 
road to the school is narrow and 
unpaved and not the easiest to negoti- 
ate in inclement weather, so you may 
want to walk in. 

Several buildings are still standing in 
the isolated Cataloochee area on the 
North Carolina side of the park. They 
include Palmer Chapel, Beech Grove 
School, and the Jarvis Palmer, Hiram 
Caldwell, and Steve Woody homes. 
Most of the buildings are open, and a 
ranger is on duty to answer your 
questions. The fields are mowed to 
maintain the cove effect from early 
settlement days. Reaching Cataloochee 
from the north means a lengthy trip on 
unpaved road; from the south it's a bit 
easier. If you have the time, visiting 
Cataloochee is worth the extra effort. 


Related Nearby Sites 

A number of nearby sites are related 
in one way or the other to the history 
of the Great Smoky Mountains. Here 
are a few that you might visit while 
vacationing in the Smokies: 

The arts, crafts, and lifeways of the 
Cherokees are portrayed by the tribe 
at the Qualla Reservation, adjacent to 
the North Carolina side of the park. 
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian 
displays a collection of artifacts, and 
the Oconaluftee Living Indian Village 
shows typical early Cherokee life in 
log structures. The play "Unto These 
Hills" tells the story of the Cherokees 
and their encounters with Europeans 
settling in the Smokies and of the 
forced removal of most of the tribe to 
Oklahoma in 1838. About 4,000 Chero- 
kees live on the Qualla Reservation 

The Arrowmont School of Arts and 
Crafts in Gatlinburg has done much to 
perpetuate the pottery, weaving, and 
other skills indicative of the Smokies 
people. The school displays and sells 
objects created by local artisans. 

The Museum of Appalachia in 
Norris, Tennessee, just north of 
Knoxville, has 30 restored pioneer log 
structures, a representative farmstead, 
and more than 200,000 artifacts of 
mountain life. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway, adminis- 
tered by the National Park Service, has 
several log houses, a gristmill, a recon- 
structed farm, and other early Ameri- 
can buildings. Much of the 755-kilo- 
meter (469-mile), parkway, which ad- 
joins Great Smoky Mountains National 
Park near Oconaluftee and runs north 
into Virginia, is quite far from the 
park, but some of the historic points of 
interest are in the southern portion. 
The Folk Art Center, at milepost 382, 
displays traditional crafts of the South- 
ern Highlands. 

At Mabry Mill on the Blue 
Ridge Parkway you can see 
old-time skills demonstrated in 
the summer and fall. Weaving is 
just one of many traditional 
crafts taught at the Arrowmont 
School of Arts and Crafts in 


Armchair Explorations 

General histories of the Great Smoky 

Elizabeth Skaggs Bowman, Land of 
High Horizons, 1938 
Carlos C. Campbell, Birth of a Na- 
tional Park, 1960 
Michael Frome, Strangers in High 
Places, 1980 

Horace Kephart, Our Southern High- 
landers, 1922 

Horace Kephart, /oi/r/7a/^ at Western 
Carolina University 
Robert Lindsay Mason, The Lure of 
the Great Smokies, 1927 
Roderick Peattie, ed., The Great 
Smokies and the Blue Ridge, 1943 
Laura Thornborough, The Great 
Smoky Mountains, 1937 

Cherokee history: 

James Adair, The History of the Amer- 
ican Indians, 1115 
William Bartram, Travels, 1792 
John R Brown, Old Frontiers, 1938 
William H. Gilbert, The Eastern 
Cherokees, 1943 

Henry T. Malone, Cherokees of the 
Old South, 1956 

James Mooney, Myths of the Chero- 
kees, 1900 

Charles C. Royce, The Cherokee Na- 
tion of Indians, 1887 
William L. Smith, The Story of the 
Cherokees, 1927 

Henry Timberlake, M^mo/r^. 1765 
Grace Steele Woodward, The Chero- 
kees, 1963 

Allen H. Eaton, Handicrafts of the 
Southern Highlands, 1937 
Paul Fink, "Early Explorers in the Great 
Smokies," East Tennessee Historical 
Society Bulletin, 1933 
Joseph S. Hall, Smoky Mountain Folks 
and Their Lore, 1960 
Joseph S. Hall, Yarns and Tales from 
the Great Smokies, 1978 
Archibald Henderson, The Conquest 
of the Old Southwest, 1920 
Charles Lanman, Letters from the 
Alleghany Mountains, 1849 
Ruth W. b'Dell, Over the Misty Blue 
Hills: The Story of Cocke County, 
Tennessee, 1950 

John Parris, articles in The Asheville 

Randolph Shields, "Cades Cove," Ten- 
nessee Historical Quarterly, 1965 
Randolph Shields, The Cades Coye 
Story, 1911 

Foster A. Sondley, A History of Bun- 
combe County, 1930 
Wilbur Zeigler and Ben Grosscup, 
The Heart of the Alleghanies, 1883 
Robert Woody, "Life on Little Cata- 
loochee," South Atlantic Quarterly, 

Other historical works: 

W. C. Allen, The Annals of Hay wood 
County, 1935 

John Preston Arthur, Western North 
Carolina, 1914 

John C. Campbell, The Southern High- 
lander and His Homeland, 192 1 
Wilma Dykeman, The French Broad, 



Abbott, Rhodie//. 94-95 
Adair, James 39 
American Revolution 45, 47 
Animals 18,91-92,98 
Appalachian National Park 
Assocation 114 
Appalachian Trail 122 
Arrowmont School of Arts 
and Crafts 130, 131,136 
Arthur, John Preston 83, 84, 

Attakullakulla 42, 44 
Ayunini (Swimmer) 40-4 L 46 

Bartram, William 42, 75 

Beck, John 49, 56, 57 

Bell, Hazel 78 

Big Greenbrier Cove 50, 86 

Blount, John Gray 19 

Bohanan, Dave 135 

Boone, Daniel 45, 58 

Boudinot, Elias 63, 65, 66, 67, 


Bradley family 49 

Brainerd Mission 63 

Bryson City 109 

Buckley, S. B. 75 

Burns, John 134 

Burrell, Elsie 144 

Cable Mill 752. 153 

Cades Cove 51, 52. 56, 137, 
/.?<S', 141, 148, 152-53 
Caldwell family, George H. 

Caldwell family, Levi 20, 21 
Caldwell family. Lush 21 
Caldwell home 153 
Cameron, Alexander 45 
Cammerer, Arno B. 1 16-17, 

Campbell, Aunt Sophie 58 
Cardwell, Columbus "Clum" 

Carver, Aden 6, 140 
Cataloochee 17, 18-29, 155 
Champion Coated Paper 
(Fibre) Company 98, 119 
Chapman, David C. 1 14, 1 16, 

Charlie's Bunion 105 
Cherokee Indians: alphabet 
63-64; Civil War 74, 79; com- 
munity and homelife 40-41, 
43,63, 150; Eastern Band 
(Quaila Reservation) 71, 127- 
30, 156; government 37, 39, 
65;photos.?^, .?(>^, ^<'. ^6, 63, 

64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 71, 128; 
removal 65-70; rituals and re- 
ligion 39, 42,43, 57, 63, 127- 
29; settlement 17,19,35-37, 
49-52, 7ry; treaties 45, 47, 68 
Chickamauga Indians 47 

Churches 25, 56-57, 63, 86-87, 
126, 152-53,154, 155 
Civil War 77-79, 82-83 
Civilian Conservation Corps 
114, 121-22,123,140 
Clark, Dick 27 
Clingman, Thomas Lanier 

Clingmans Dome 18, 76, 103, 

Collins family 49 
Community life 25, 27, 29 
Conner family 49 
Crestmont98, 102 
Cove Creek Gap 118 
Crockett, Davy 67 
Cuming, Alexander 44 

Davis, John 150 
Davis, Willis P. 114, 116, //cS' 
Deep Creek 49 50 
DeSoto, Hernando 36 
Dowdle family, Alfred 126 
Dragging Canoe 47 
Duckett, Kate79,<*^y 
D wight Mission 65 

Eakin, J. Ross 7^)6. 121, 122 

Economy 77, 98-99 

Education 65, 84 87, <^5. 

130-31, 140-41, 145, 155. See 

also Little Greenbrier School 


Elkmont 17,98,99 

Enloe family, Abraham 49, 

56, 57 

Enloe, Mrs. Clem 83 

Environmental Education 

Center 140-41, 145 

Farming 52, 54, 151 

Fences 29, J()-.U 91 

Floyd family 49 

Folk Art Center 156 

Folk culture 57. See also 


Fontana 98 

Forge, iron 51-52 

Forney Creek 49, 105 

Foute, David 51 

French and Indian War 44-45 

Gatlin, Radford 78-79 
Gatlinburg 50, 78, 123, 130, 

Geology 17-18 
Gibson, Wiley 6rA 6/ 
Ginatiyun tihi (Stephen 
Tehee) 69 
Gold 66 

Granny's College 86 
Great Smoky Mountain Con- 
servation Area 116 
Great Smoky Mountains Na- 
tional Park: accommoda- 
tions 149; founding 18, 29, 
114, 116-17,119, 123, 126; 
site 148; map 14-15: nearby 
sites, 156; officials 106, 107, 
118, 119; safety and health 
149; size 17; visitor centers 
148, 149 

Great Smoky Mountains Nat- 
ural History Association 155 
Greenbrier 17 

Gregg-Cable house 152. 153 
Gregory, Russell 52 
Gregory Bald 52 
Guyot, Arnold 76-77 
Guyot, Mount 102, 105 

Handicrafts 64-95. 131-35, 156 
Hearon, Tom and Jerry 


Higinbotham, Phyllis 131 

Hill, Martha 130 

Homelife '^2, 53-55, 78, 79, 

80-81, 83-84,87,(*y6'-(S'9. 60, 

94-95, 150-51 

Housing 4-5. 12-13, 16. 21. 

40-41,91 ,136, 150, 152. 153, 


Huff, Andy 97, 105 

Hughes family, Ralph 49, 56 

Huskey, Claude 134 

Jackson, Andrew 66-67 
Jefferson, Thomas 65 
Job Corps 140 
Jones, John 134 

Kephart, Horace 107 110, 
112, 114, 119, 138; photo 108 
Kituwah 36, 37 

Lamon, George 51 
Language 92-93, 126 
Lanman, Charles 75 
Little Greenbrier Cove 123, 


Niiiuhers in italics ipfer to photographs. iUustrations. or maps. 

Little Greenbrier School 

House 84, (V5, /77, 148, /57 
iL^ittle River Lumber Com- 
pany 97, 99, 117, 140 
Love, Robert 20 
Lumber industry 29, 97-105, 
117, 119; photos %, J 00- 1 01. 
103. 105. See also Little River 
Lumber Company 
Lyttleton, William Henry 44 

Mabry mill /56 

McCarter, Mack 132-33. 134 

McFalls, Neddy 27 

Marshall, John 67 

Maps 14-13. 3(h 70 

Matthews, Herman 84, (V5 

Medlin 108 

Meigs, Return Jonathan 65 

Messer family, E.J. 21 

Messer, Milas W-V/, 150 

Messer, Will 27 

Mingus, Abraham 31 

Mingus family, John Jacob 

49, 56 

Mingus mill 149, 757 55 

Mitchell, Elisha 76 

Mitchell, Mount 36, 76 

Music 87, 91, 114 

Myers, Dan 26 

Myers, Sherman 31 

Newman, Grace 114 

Oakley family, Wiley /// 

Oakley, Becky 04 

Oconaluftee49,56, 148, 

J 30-5 J 

Ogle family, Martha Huskey 


Ogle, Mollie McCarter 7(S 

Ogle family 87, rV<S V^ 

Ogle home, Noah "Bud'" 154 

Oliver family, John and 

Lurena 33, 51 , 52, 136. 152-53 

Ownby, Celia 79, SO 

Ownby, Giles and Lenard 1'^ 

Ownby, Humphry John 86 

Ownby, Lillie Whaley 86 

Ownby, Matt 60 

Ownby, Mrs. Matt 132 

Ownby family, Tilman 142-43 

Palmer family, George 20, 2 1 , 


Palmer, Lafayette 2 1 , 27 

Palmer, Jesse 21 

Parson's Bald 52 

Payne, John Howard 64, 68 
Plants 18,75;medieinal57- 
58, 84 
Proctor 98 
Proffitt, Jim 115 

Qualla Arts and Crafts 

Mutual 130 

Ravensford 98 

Reagan family, Richard 50, 78 

Ridge, John 63, 67 

Ridge, Major 67. 68 

Rifle, long 58,5V 6/ 

Roads 21, 25, 27, 56, 59, 79, 


Robertson, James 45 

Rockefeller, Jr., John D. 117 

Roosevelt, Franklin D. 1 19, 


Roosevelt, Theodore 97, 116 

Rose, Aquilla 110, 112,7/5 

Ross, John 65, 66. 68 

Schermerhorn, J.D. 68 
Scott, Winrield68,71 
Sequoyah (George Gist) 63- 
65; portrait 64 
Settlers, white 42 52, 152 
Sherrill family, Samuel 49, 56 
Shields family, Robert 52 
Shults, George Washington 

Siler's Bald 105 
Smokemont 17,98 
Swaniger, Aaron 72 

Thomas, William 79 
Thomason, W.W. 110, 112 
Tipton, William 51 

Tremont 137-38 
Tryon, William 45 


Tsiskwa-kaluya (Bird Chop- 
per) 71 

Van Buren, Martin 68 
Vance, Zebulon B. 77 

Walker, William "Black Bill" 

137-38, 13<1 

Walker. John 79, /2a 123 

Walker, Nancy 137, 138 

Walker sisters 79, 123-127; 

photos (S7. 124 

Walini 62 

Welsh, Samson 12S 

Whaiey family 50 


Whisky 91, 110, 112-/7 
Wiggins family, Abraham 50 
Worcester, Samuel Austin 63, 
65, 67 
Work, Hubert 116 

i^GPO: 1984-421-611/10001 


Handbook 125 

The cover photograph was taken by Ed Cooper. The 
rest of the color photography, unless otherwise 
credited, was taken by William A. Bake of Boone, 
North Carolina. Nearly all of the black-and-white 
photographs come from the files of Great Smoky 
Mountains National Park. About half of them were 
taken in the 1930s for historic recording purposes by 
Edouard E. Exline and Charles S. Grossman on 
behalf of the National Park Service. Exline was a 
landscape architect with the Civilian Conservation 
Corps and a photographer by avocation. Grossman 
was a structural architect for the park who was in 
charge of the cultural preservation program. 
The other photographers who have been identified 
are Laura Thornborough, who resided in the Smokies 
and wrote the book The Great Smoky Mountains; 
Joseph S. Hall, who has studied and written about 
linguistics of the Smokies since the 1930s; Harry M. 
Jennison, a research botanist from the University of 
Tennessee who worked in the park from 1935 to 
1940; H.C. Wilburn, a CCC history technician who 
collected and purchased artifacts of mountain life; 
Maurice Sullivan, a CCC wildlife technician who 
subsequently became a Park Service naturalist; 
Alden Stevens, a museum specialist for the Park 
Service; Jim Shelton, husband of one of the Walker 
sisters, Sarah Caroline; George Masa, who estab- 
lished the Asheville Photo Service shortly after 
World War I; Burton Wolcott; and National Park 
Service photographers George A. Grant, Alan Rine- 
hart, Fred R. Bell, M. Woodbridge Williams, and 
Clair Burket. 

Many of the logging photographs were donated to 
the park by the Little River Lumber Company. Most 
of the photographs of Cherokees come from the 
National Anthropological Archives at the Smith- 
sonian Institution; many of them were taken by 
James Moonev in the Smokies area in 1888. 

National Park Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 

As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the 
Department of the Interior has responsibihty for 
most of our nationally owned public lands and natu- 
ral resources. This includes fostering the wisest use 
of our land and water resources, protecting our fish 
and wildlife, preserving the environmental and cul- 
tural values of our national parks and historical 
places, and providing for the enjoyment of life 
through outdoor recreation. The Department as- 
sesses our energy and mineral resources and works 
to assure that their development is in the best inter- 
est of all our people. The Department also has a 
major responsibility for American Indian reserva- 
tion communities and for people who live in Island 
Territories under U.S. administration. 

At Home 

In the Smokies 

/CWs.'" ^ ?.